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Center helps make businesses more accessible to disabled
Staff will survey area, offer tips
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Disability Resource Center
To volunteer for an Americans with Disabilities Act compliance check or for more information about the Disability Resource Center, contact Sarah Beth Fede at 770-534-6656, ext. 25.

Tasks that many take for granted can be nearly impossible for those with disabilities.

Something as simple as a store’s display protruding too far into an aisle can create a barrier. Knowing this, the staff from the Disability Resource Center on Woodsmill Road in Gainesville have started a free compliance survey for area businesses.

“A DRC-trained advocate will go out and assist the business owners on ways their facility can be more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Sarah Beth Fede, center advocacy coordinator.

The disabilities act was signed into law in 1990, with the goal of making society — specifically public places and employment opportunities — more accessible to those with disabilities.

While most businesses are ADA compliant, some things still impede facilities being fully accessible.

“It’s things they don’t think about — like putting a vase in your entrance,” Fede said. “Someone that’s visually impaired won’t know to avoid it. Or if you have an automatic door, does it stay open long enough to allow someone in a wheelchair to get through?”

The businesses that complete the voluntary survey will be given a Disability Resource Center Accessibility Seal of Approval sticker to display in their storefront window. Having a seal of approval would send a strong message to the disabled community, Fede said.

“If they can go into a store that has the seal, they know there won’t be any barriers in their way,” she said. “... Some people are afraid to get out of their house because they are afraid of encountering barriers, but if they know that those barriers are removed, they’d feel more comfortable getting out more and would be able to live independently.

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