The COVID-19 pandemic put a temporary halt to restaurant dining, but now restaurants across the country are reopening with specific guidelines in place. One of the most common guidelines is allowing customers to dine outside or limiting the number of customers allowed to dine inside at one time. Along with social distancing guidelines and other sanitization guidelines to follow, restaurant owners also need to ensure their outdoor spaces are accessible for people with mobility limitations. Everything from wheelchair accessible restrooms to smoothing out pathways is essential, and here are three ways you can make your outdoor restaurant space more accessible.

Ensure Outdoor Pathways Are Smooth

Some restaurants have smooth and decorative entryways to their establishment’s front door, but the outdoor dining area doesn’t get as much attention. Since customers will be directed straight to the outdoor dining space in many cases, it’s vital to ensure that the pathways are smooth enough for people in a wheelchair, walker, or even a mobility scooter to approach the area safely. A wheelchair accessible space may be as simple as installing a wheelchair ramp that’s wide enough for people to turn around with ease. In many cases, slight modifications are all that’s needed to become wheelchair accessible at your restaurant.

Install A Stair Lift For Deck Dining

Restaurants with an outdoor deck for dining may consider installing a stair lift to help customers enter the space without navigating stairs. A stair lift is great to always have at your restaurant, but if the hope is to open indoor dining soon, you can also rent one for temporary use. Depending on how high the deck is from the ground, you may consider installing a wheelchair ramp as well, so people with a mobility scooter can easily access the space.

Make Restrooms Wheelchair Accessible

Your indoor restrooms may be wheelchair accessible, but any outdoor portable restrooms you have now need to be as well. Ensure the portable restrooms you’re using are wide enough for a wheelchair or mobility scooter to enter, and the bottom is as flat to the ground as possible. Any hand washing or sanitizing stations you have outside should be at a height that’s easy to reach in a wheelchair. Just remember that any outdoor facilities you have must adhere to ADA regulations, just like your indoor space.

Next Day Access can help business owners make their restaurant wheelchair accessible to provide a welcoming environment for all customers. Outdoor dining may be the norm for the foreseeable future, so taking the necessary steps now to make it easily accessible for anyone can help your business tremendously. Whether you need a complete overhaul of your outdoor dining space or just need a few creative modifications, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to provide you with a free assessment with recommendations.