NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced new agreements Friday that will provide equal access for persons with disabilities to theater performances, gourmet retail and polling places.
Schneiderman's office secured agreements with the New York Theatre Workshop, the Labyrinth Theater Company, Dean & Deluca and the Allegany County Board of Elections. The announcement of the agreements came on the 23rd anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"My office is deeply committed to ensuring equal access for New Yorkers with disabilities across the state," Schneiderman said. "Persons with disabilities should have the same opportunities as their peers, regardless of disability status. For more than two decades, the ADA has encouraged independent living and equal opportunity for persons with disabilities, and this office will continue to make that goal a reality in New York."
The agreements with New York Theatre Workshop and the Labyrinth Theater company will make sure that accessible seating is sold during the same hours and in the same manner as general seating. The theaters will also make a pair of tickets available, including one wheelchair-accessible seat and one companion seat, to non-profit organizations that provide services to disabled New Yorkers over the next two years.
In late August, Schneiderman's office will lead a theatre-industry focused seminar on ADA issues of significance to the theater community. Topics to be discussed include hearing accessibility, ticket sales and service animal matters.
Under the terms of an agreement with Dean & Deluca, a gourmet food retailer, the retailer will develop a new policy to ensure that patrons who rely on service animals are able to access the stores without unnecessary hurdles or harassment.
As part of an agreement with the Allegany County Board of Elections, the board will take steps to ensure that election officials provide disabled individuals with meaningful access to poll sites on election day.
The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than two million New Yorkers have a disability and are protected by the ADA.