Two months before most Broadway theaters reopened, the Federal Attorney’s Office in Manhattan announced on Tuesday that key operators had agreed to increase wheelchair access in five theaters as part of a settlement.
Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Jujamsin Theater violates Americans with Disabilities Act and has announced that it has settled with the company and amended it.
As part of the deal, the Alhilschfeld, August Wilson, Eugene O’Neill, St. James, and Walterker theaters will offer 44 wheelchair-accessible seats and 54 aisle-moving theater toilets. Shop counter, waiting room, box office revenue.
According to the announcement, Jujamcyn will also pay a civil penalty of $ 40,000.
“As New York City reopens and begins to welcome the world again, Jujamcyn Theaters, LLC will work with offices to improve accessibility at historic venues and allow all patrons to enjoy Broadway. I’m happy to say that, “Strauss said in a statement.
The email message sent to the Jujamcyn spokesman on Tuesday night was not returned immediately.
The first upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of September, according to court documents.
The agreement with Jujamcyn is the latest between the companies that run Broadway theaters and the authorities, many of which were opened decades before the landmark. Americans with Disabilities Act Signed in 1990, it needed to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.
For years, accessibility in Broadway theaters has been a challenge, ranging from the limited supply of wheelchair-accessible seats in theaters to the lack of accommodation at box office counters. .. Broadway theater operators have long promised to make their facilities ADA compliant.
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In 2003The head of the Schubert Organization said it spent about $ 5 million to upgrade 16 theaters to comply with ADA, on the recommendation of a US law firm. “What we did was a combination of obsession and volunteering,” said Gerald Seanfeld, chairman of the organization at the time. “We were happy to be servants.”
In 2014The Nederlander Organization has signed a contract with a US law firm to upgrade nine facilities after the public prosecutor’s office filed a proceeding. The company has agreed to add 70 wheelchair-accessible seating locations, 134 aisle-accessible seating locations, and remove more than 500 barriers to theater accessibility.
In general, facilities built before the ADA came into force in the 1990s should be removed “if easily achievable,” according to US law firms.
The announcement of the settlement with Jujamcyn came when Broadway and other theater districts around the world were preparing to reopen after many people were forced to temporarily close the door due to pandemic restrictions. It was. Some shows have been addressed by providing a streaming version of the face-to-face work, making it available to ticket owners from home. Boon For those who feel that they do not have access to face-to-face production.
However, as more people were vaccinated and pandemic restrictions were relaxed, the show returned to its respective stages. (Last month, the first show returned to Broadway. Bruce Springsteen Two hours at the St. James Theater, music and storytelling attracted more than 1,700 spectators. )
And the return to more face-to-face performances in theaters has revived concerns about theater accessibility. Accessibility in the pandemic era can be lost..
In New York City, theater operators say they are making progress in improving the face-to-face experience for those in need.
2018, New York City Announcement It subsidizes Off-Broadway and other small theaters to install software that allows patrons to follow along with low-light smartphones and tablets.
Broadway awaiting crowd return gets more wheelchair access
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