Advisory Board on Disability Services Launches Program Acknowledging Accessible Restaurants

(April 5, 2019) The AccessAbility Decal Program is a new local initiative coordinated by the Advisory Board on Disability Services (ABDS), a division of the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Human Relations Commission. This is a voluntary program to recognize local businesses that are accessible to persons with disabilities and provide guidance to businesses that are not yet accessible.

Modeled after a similar program in the city of Bloomington, Indiana, the goal of the program is to encourage and assist restaurants and other places of public accommodations to meet specific accessibility standards. The project is also a collaboration with two local universities. 

Occupational Therapy students at the University of Southern Indiana and Physical Therapy students at the University of Evansville will team up to implement accessibility screenings at local restaurants free of charge.  The screenings will be focused on parking, paths of travel, entrance, elevators, stairs and railings, common areas, restrooms, and customer service. The survey addresses basic guidance for evaluation purposes and is not a substitute for state and federal accessibility standards. 

Members of the Advisory Board on Disability Services will review the surveys and determine which restaurants will receive the decal. At the end of the initiative, there will be a reception acknowledging restaurants that successfully participated with the program. “We are quite excited to implement the AccessAbility Decal Program in Evansville. 

We appreciate all the effort and planning that have been done to bring this initiative to fruition,” said Matt Hoffman, chairperson of the ABDS. Participants will be presented with the decal and featured on the organization’s social media page as well as on the City of Evansville website. 

Restaurants that may have barriers to accessibility will receive a letter from the ABDS explaining the barriers and are invited to participate in future screenings. The first screenings will be completed in April.

Any restaurant interested in participating can call the Human Relations Commission’s office at (812) 436-4927 or email to hrc@evansville.in.gov.