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Escape room

Escape Rooms And Customers With Disabilities

In America, they have a civil rights law, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that is designed to protect against discrimination for people with disabilities. It covers all areas of public life and gives those with disabilities the same possibilities as those without. That’s the theory anyway. Many western nations will have, more or less, the same policies written in law that aim to improve
2021.08.16.

In America, they have a civil rights law, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that is designed to protect against discrimination for people with disabilities. It covers all areas of public life and gives those with disabilities the same possibilities as those without. That’s the theory anyway. Many western nations will have, more or less, the same policies written in law that aim to improve the lives of those with disabilities.

Because an escape room business is classed as “a place of public accommodation” then these laws will apply to them. This also includes privately owned businesses like restaurants, hotels, cinemas, theatres and bowling alleys, because they are all open to the public. If your escape room employs more than 15 workers, this law will also apply to the employment part of the act.

Escape Room Facilities

When it comes to the physical structure of your business, then the law is very straightforward. Even if it’s a small business, as long as there is access by the general public, it will need to be accessible to those with disabilities. The act includes a whole slew of building regulations in the “Standards of Design” section. These can cover a multitude of things, including parking spaces, accessible entrances, aisle and pathways at least three feet wide and, if it’s a shop space, then providing shelves and counters at an accessible height. With older existing buildings, then the owner will have to remove any barriers in order to make the building accessible to those with disabilities. 

All buildings need to allow for proper access to those in wheelchairs. This often means widening doorways and the installation of ramps. Having said that, you can only do so much, particularly if you’re situated in an older structure. But the law does expect you to make the effort to change what can be changed. As the owner of an escape room, then the next question must e whether the actual escape room itself needs to be changed? In truth, the answer is ambiguous, as there’s been no case law to set the president.  We think that, as a given, you should be designing your rooms with disabled accessibility in mind from the get-go. After all, you want to give everyone the chance to enjoy your games. So, please try and make all the changes that can help those who are less abled. A good example would be turning off a store light for those who are affected and may have seizures from its effects.

Many owners would argue, with some justification, that any structural changes would fundamentally change the nature of the whole escape room business. An example would be a requirement during gameplay to crawl through a small space. It’s not possible to create the same sense of claustrophobia with a tunnel designed to let wheelchair users enter. Though it may spoil the immersive element for some players, you would have no other option but to tell those disabled players that they have to completely miss the room in question. And it’s better if you give this as advanced information, so the customer has the possibility of choosing another game more suited to their physical attributes.

Escape Room Customer Service

When serving any customers with disabilities, the law requires that you make reasonable efforts to change your means of communication for those with speech, visual or audio problems. Try to communicate effectively using any aids for those with any form of vision, hearing or speech impediments. Yes, this may well result in doing things a little differently from your normal routine. 
With so many escape rooms situated in basements for rental cost savings, you’re going to have to change some policies in order to accommodate those who suffer any form of impairment. An example would be those who are vision impaired and need to be with their guide dog. Understandable, all escape rooms will probably have a “no animals allowed” policy. So here’s an opportunity to change that, and in so doing, create a happy customer. Likewise, you could slightly modify your hint system to include those who would prefer them in written form as they are hearing impaired.

On the whole, there’s no need to be making fundamental or structural changes to your escape room game room layouts. But from the start of the business, at the planning stages, you all should be working hard with the idea of providing the best experience for everyone, including those with mobility or other impairments. Of course, you’re not required t have game masters who can converse in sign language, as once again, we reiterate that the changes shouldn’t be burdensome on the business itself. But it’s important from your business perspective to make every customer feel welcome and so it’s essential that you change your mindset and put in the extra effort. You’d be surprised as to how many businesses simply look at a disabled person and see a problem, as opposed to creating the best experience for that customer. 
 

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