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Best practices for accessible (ADA)/companion seating

To help make live events inclusive and accessible for all, it’s important that your event complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which ensures that individuals with disabilities are properly accommodated. eblink{Learn more about the legal requirements for event spaces=>} and how to go the extra mile to make sure all your attendees are well cared for.

NOTE: The ADA only applies to events held in the United States. If your event is located outside the U.S., make sure to follow any similar legal requirements in your region.

Introduction to accessibility and the ADA

1. What is the “ADA”?

The eblink{Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)=>} is a civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities against discrimination. It aims to ensure that these individuals have equal access to all areas of public life, including public accommodations, employment, transportation, government services, and telecommunications.

2. What does this have to do with me?

Live event spaces are covered in eblink{Title III=>} of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires that facilities that are generally open the public provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. These accommodations can include modifications to the physical space itself and taking necessary steps to communicate with attendees with vision, hearing, or speech disabilities.

ADA compliance

In order to ensure that your event space meets ADA requirements, follow these recommendations.

1. ADA seats must be available in the same stages of purchase and the same channels as non-accessible seats.

ADA seats must be available to purchase online, on-site, and on the phone (if applicable) as long as ticket sales occur for any seat type. If there’s a sale or eblink{discounted ticket=>}, ADA seats must also be available for purchase with the same discount.

2. Ample ADA seating must be provided based on the setup of the venue.

Attendees purchasing an accessible seat must be able to purchase up to three additional seats next to them for their companions. If seats meeting this criteria have already been sold, you must offer companion seats as close as possible to the accessible seat. The percentage of seats required varies by venue size: • Up to 500 seat venue: 1% of capacity plus one seat • 501-5000 seat venue: 6 seats to start, plus 1 seat for every 150 above 500. (For example, an 800 seat venue should have 8 ADA seats) • 5000+ seat venue: 36 seats to start, plus 1 seat for every 200 above 5000. (For example, a 6000 person venue should have 41 ADA seats) • If there are over 300 seats in the venue, ADA seats are required in more than one location

TIP: Accessible seats must be the same price as other seats in that section.

3. Venues can’t require proof of disability for an ADA purchase.

However, they can take certain steps to prevent an ADA ticket from being purchased fraudulently: • Ask the attendee to state that he/she requires an accessible seat • eblink{Assign ADA ticket types to specific rows/sections in your venue design=>} • Add language to the eblink{ticket type description=>} stating that if the user of the ticket does not need the features of the accessible seat, the ticket holder can be moved to a non-accessible seat.

4. ADA seats can only be sold as non-accessible when certain requirements are met.

These requirements include: • All non-accessible seats are sold out • All non-accessible seats in the same section as the ADA seats are sold out • All non-accessible seats in the same price level as ADA seats are sold out

Accessibility for General Admission venues

Even if there is no seating in the venue, there are other ways you can accommodate disabled patrons.

1. Ensure the line of sight to the stage is comparable to other patrons.

Remove any objects from the seating area that may obstruct views, such as lighting or sound equipment. If possible, position the accessible seating area at the front of a section, or on a raised platform, so that the view isn’t blocked by people standing.

2. Provide handicapped parking, designated pick up and drop off areas, and accessible entrances.

It's important to highlight all of your venue's accessible entry points. Post clear signage and appoint a security guard or staff member to help monitor each designated section.

3. Equip restrooms with accessible stalls.

eblink{Learn more about the legal requirements for restrooms=>}.

4. Provide resources for the hearing impaired.

Invest in an assisted listening device (ALD) system. ALDs help those with hearing aids or cochlear implants separate sounds coming from a speaker or audio source from background noise. You could also consider hiring a sign language interpreter to serve at your event.

TIP: If you do offer an assisted listening device system, clearly post signs notifying attendees that assistance is available.

Further reading

1. Dive deeper into accessibility strategies on the Eventbrite Blog.

• eblink{How to create a more accessible event listing=>} • eblink{Creating accessible events on-site=>} • eblink{The basics of event accessibility: How to create a more accessible event=>}

2. Learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act.

• eblink{>} • eblink{ADA National Network Factsheet=>} • eblink{ - Ticket Sales=>}

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