October 27, 2017
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), the Mayor’s Office of People With Disabilities (MOPD), and Council Member Brad Lander today announced new resources to help small businesses comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and City regulations. There are over 200,000 small businesses across the five boroughs, and the City is focusing on proactive measures to ensure greater accessibility for all customers. Currently, SBS offers free, on-site compliance consultations to help small business owners understand and comply with health, safety, and consumer regulations. As part of these consultations, SBS personnel will now explain common ADA violations and trouble spots, including ones that are frequently the target of fines and lawsuits. Business owners will also receive detailed print materials about ADA standards and compliance.
“New York City is a place of inclusion where every single person who resides here should be able to navigate daily life without accessibility being a concern,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These new resources will simultaneously help small businesses thrive while taking big steps to make our city even more welcoming, convenient and enjoyable for ALL New Yorkers.”
“By working together, we’re making New York City a place that is accessible to all,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “We are helping small business owners have the information and support needed to enhance accessibility and welcome additional customers.”
“Providing businesses with information to improve access for their customers with disabilities advances our goal to make New York City the most accessible city in the world,” said Victor Calise, Commissioner of Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.
“It’s important we make NYC a more accessible City. But small business owners often don’t have the information they need readily available – and instead struggle with ADA violations, which often come with steep fines or even lawsuits,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “My office is proud to work alongside SBS and MOPD to provide new measures to help small businesses – these on-site compliance consultations and information they need to navigate complex ADA regulations, will go a long way to allow our small businesses to be proactive instead of reactive.”
Information and materials provided to business owners will focus on entrance accessibility, signage, design standards, and communications elements for the visually impaired. More information on ADA compliance standards may be found online by visiting www.adachecklist.org.
Since taking office in January 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio has made it easier for small businesses to succeed in New York City. Through supportive, proactive measures like compliance consultations, the City helps small business owners comply with regulations and avoid costly fines and penalties. As a result of the City’s work, fines assessed against small business owners have declined by 40% under Mayor de Blasio.
“Small businesses are the economic engines of Brooklyn, and we should ensure they are open to all of our residents for all of our benefit,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “With the right information and resources, local establishments will be on the road to compliance with the ADA and City regulations that make our borough a more accessible and welcoming place for every customer, no matter their accessibility needs.”
“Every day our small businesses aim to serve the people of this city the best they can,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business. “These new resources will allow small business owners to serve even more customers and ensure New York is accessible to all.”
“This program is really important to our businesses and we are excited about this announcement,” said Mark Caserta, Executive Director, Park Slope Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District. “Our businesses need help understanding and complying with the rules of the ADA and this program is one step in eliminating the type of damaging ADA compliance lawsuits that have hurt Fifth Avenue businesses in recent months.”
More information on free compliance consultations and the services of the Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities may be found by visiting nyc.gov/sbs, nyc.gov/mopd, and by calling 311.
About the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to nyc.gov/sbs, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.