Advocating for Access During the Pandemic
The pandemic has hit everyone hard, including local restaurants. In an effort to help them stay afloat, towns across the state allowed restaurants to expand and offer outside seating during the warmer months. On Main Street in Hyannis traffic was reduced to one lane so pedestrians could walk safely in the street since the restaurants blocked off entire sections of the sidewalk. This created a new problem. Many stores were completely inaccessible to people using wheelchairs because the path of travel from the curb cuts was blocked by the restaurants.
Responding to a call from a concerned person, CORD assessed the barriers and worked closely with the Town to correct the problem. The Town quickly agreed to install portable ramps at all areas that were blocked by the expanded seating so that all people, regardless of disability would be able to shop.
“This isn’t a case of intentional discrimination on the part of the Town; they were trying to address an urgent need to assist local businesses and just didn’t consider the impact on the disability community,” explained Gretchen Arvanitopoulos, CORD’s Vice President who spearheaded the effort. “But blocking access, intentional or not, still violates federal and state access laws and CORD will always fight for equal access.”
If you are facing barriers during the pandemic, call CORD at 508-775-8300 and let us know.