There is no doubt that they COVID-19 pandemic has substantially altered the way of life for most people in and around Philadelphia. However, many restaurants were able to adapt to changing situations by allowing for outdoor seating quickly. While these moves were hailed by most of the public, especially those eager to dine-out, one group of people begin to face significant obstacles – disabled residents in Philadelphia. At the Dan Doyle Law Group, our Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyers want to discuss some of the unintended consequences business choices have had on our disabled residents.
Outdoor dining became a lifeline to the restaurants throughout Philadelphia, particularly at the height of store closures during the pandemic. In general, this was the only way for restaurants to continue serving people aside from catering to take-out orders. Unfortunately, outdoor dining poses significant obstacles to those with disabilities.
In most cases, restaurants that began offering outdoor dining for patrons were not already equipped to allow for this type of dining. While city authorities generally allowed for these outdoor dining changes, not many people stopped to think about how blocking sidewalks or other pathways make it impossible for those in a wheelchair or those who use a walker to get by without encountering a dangerous situation.
Officially, Philadelphia’s outdoor dining guidelines require restaurants to leave a 6-foot pedestrian path so those with or without disabilities can get through, though not all restaurants are complying with these regulations. Since outdoor dining began on June 15, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office has said the city has received dozens of complaints about blocked sidewalks.
Disability advocates say that this pandemic has exasperated long-standing accessibility issues and has intensified feelings of neglect and exclusion. This has also made it clear that those with disabilities are often left out of the conversations regarding emergency policies and exceptions.
The problem of outdoor dining blocking the path of disabled residents in Philadelphia may extend beyond this current pandemic situation. In an effort to encourage social distancing, many restaurants are continuing to serve patrons in new-found outdoor dining areas, even if they do allow for indoor seating.
The risk of injuries here is significant. Disabled city residents may attempt to leave a sidewalk area to get around any tables or chairs, thereby forcing them into the street with traffic. This is not acceptable, and there may be various liable parties in these situations. This could include the restaurant owners and employees and even the city of Philadelphia if they have failed to enforce the rules.
If you or somebody you love has been injured in a pedestrian accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person, contact the Dan Doyle Law Group for help with your case today. We pledge to conduct a full investigation into the incident so we can secure any compensation you may be entitled to. This can include coverage of your medical expenses, lost income if you cannot work, pain and suffering damages, and more. When you need a Philadelphia pedestrian accident attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 215-987-3730.