Access to Large Venues Still an Issue During the Pandemic
Before the coronavirus pandemic began, access to venues was a problem for people with disabilities, especially those who needed a wheelchair to get around. As the lockdowns are being lifted, the question is, do they face the same problems? Venues should reconsider installing access, as straight stairlift prices and installation are negotiable. Stairlift prices will vary depending on the location and required features.
For wheelchair users, a trip to the theatre is as complicated as going just about anywhere. Some say that even booking a seat is a challenge.
Most theatres do not allow people to buy wheelchair tickets online. Moreover, those who spend most of their time in wheelchairs often lack the energy to enjoy the entertainment because they have been too tired after a long day of work.
The most tiring aspect is making the journey from point A to point B. Theatre seats for people with disabilities are also uncomfortable, and it can be challenging to move about. Some get distracted or even annoyed when the person with a disability needs to move to a more comfortable position or exercise a limb.
This is why the pandemic seemed to have been a good thing: it allowed the viewing of plays at home. It was more accessible for many with disabilities, including those with motor skills problems, deafness, and visual impairment. Online performances came with captions, British Sign Language, and audio descriptions.
Some people with learning disabilities were also able to enjoy the show without the pressure of being silent and still throughout the performance.
Theatres around the UK have committed to continuing online programmes even after the pandemic. The Barbican in London is keeping shows as purely online experiences. The Young Vic said that it would commit to streaming all its main-stage shows. Sadler’s Wells launched its own Digital Stage last year and will keep it running until 2022.
However, some venues are going to cancel their online shows in the hope of inviting people to come to the theatres again.
The problem facing people with disabilities is that a trip to the theatre requires a lot of pre-planning, making it hard for them to thoroughly enjoy the show. The stairs, narrow seating, and the toilets all have to be considered.
Those with disabilities are appealing to theatre venues to make improvements, but they seem to be meeting a dead end. Venues could have made the changes amidst the lockdowns since disturbing visitors at the theatre wouldn’t have been too much of a problem.
In the past, theatres have hired access consultants who give advice on how to improve their accessibility. They gave ideas on how to make things better for people with disabilities and gave estimates on straight stairlifts prices and how much it would cost to install one.
But the problem is that these experts may not necessarily be disabled themselves, which limits their perspective in finding the key problem areas that need solutions.
According to Shona Louise, a theatre photographer and a wheelchair user, it was frustrating to find out that the venues did not use the downtime during the lockdown to improve access to theatres. That was a lost opportunity, she said. They just decided not to take it up.
On the brighter side of things, London’s Old Vic has installed more accessible loos and created a lowered section of the bar to enable persons using wheelchairs to easily order drinks.
Access to Everyday Services for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities are protected by the law regarding the use and access of services without being discriminated against. Service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to improve the accessibility of services to people with disabilities.
For everyday services, people with disabilities have the right to gain access. These include the premises of local councils, surgeries, shops, hotels, banks, pubs, post offices, hairdressers, places of worship, courts and theatres. Non-educational services given by schools are also included under everyday services.
The Government maintains that access to services does not just include the installation of ramps and widening doorways. It is about making services easier to use for all people, including the blind, deaf, and those with learning disabilities.
Disabled people also have legal protection against disability discrimination when using transport services. Trains, buses, coaches, taxis, vehicle rental and vehicle breakdown services are all covered by this law.
Disability discrimination is legally defined in two ways. Firstly, it is unlawful for a service provider to treat a person less favourably than other people without lawful justification. Less favourable treatment may occur if a person with a disability is refused the service that others are receiving, or they may be offered poorer quality than is rendered to others.
Secondly, it is unlawful for a service provider to fail to meet the duty to make reasonable adjustments for the person with a disability without lawful justification. This duty means that service providers need to make reasonable adjustments to the policies, practices, and physical features of their premises.
Some examples of reasonable adjustments include installing an induction loop for the hearing impaired, giving options to book tickets by phone or email, giving disability training to staff members who meet with the public, having larger signage for those with impaired vision, and putting a ramp at the entrance of the building and wherever there are steps.
Reasonable adjustments vary with the size of the organisation. A bank may have a different reasonable adjustment compared to a small local shop, which is why there is a provision for allowing the venue to choose what practical changes they are able to make at their end.
Make Your Venue More Accessible
Venues need not merely provide rudimentary access points for their guests. With a little investment, they can not only make life easier for their audience but also make sure that everyone can appreciate what has been installed.
If you want the best stairlift prices and the highest quality products, then you can trust us here at Sesame Access Systems. Our stairlifts have been recognised worldwide for their innovation and beauty.
We have installed our artisan and custom access points to many venues around the world, and these are continuously being heralded as the best ever seen. Send us your enquiries, and we will be glad to reach back to you.