Where a public accommodation must provide an accessible route, the route must remain accessible and not blocked by obstacles such as furniture, filing cabinets, or potted plants. Similarly, accessible doors must be unlocked when the place of public accommodation is open for business.
ILLUSTRATION 1: Placing a vending machine on the accessible route to an accessible restroom in a bowling alley would be a violation if it obstructed the accessible route.
ILLUSTRATION 2: Placing ornamental plants in an elevator lobby may be a violation if they block the approach to the elevator call buttons or obstruct access to the elevator cars.
ILLUSTRATION 3: Using an accessible route for storage of supplies would also be a violation, if it made the route inaccessible.
BUT: An isolated instance of placement of an object on an accessible route would not be a violation, if the object is promptly removed.
Although it is recognized that mechanical failures in equipment such as elevators or automatic doors will occur from time to time, the obligation to ensure that facilities are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities would be violated, if repairs are not made promptly or if improper or inadequate maintenance causes repeated and persistent failures. Inoperable or "out of service" equipment does not meet the requirements for providing access to a place of public accommodation.
ILLUSTRATION 1: It would be a violation for a building manager of a three-story building to turn off an elevator during business hours in order to save energy.
ILLUSTRATION 2: Deactivating accessible automatic doors because of inclement weather would not be permitted.