# 22 III-7.

5180 July 31, 1992 DJ 202-PL-225

Mr. Steven John Fellman Galland, Kharasch, Morse & Garfinkle, P.C. Canal Square 1054 Thirty-First Street N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007-4492 Dear Mr. Fellman: This is in response to your letter on behalf of your client, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), regarding the application of the public accommodations sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to motion picture theaters. Your letter specifically addressed three issues of concern to NATO: the elevator exemption as applied to mezzanines in theaters; aisle slopes of theater aisles not serving an accessible part of an accessible route; and line of sight as related to floor slope. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that are subject to the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA accessibility standards. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation of the application of the statute to NATO or theater owners and it is not binding on the Department. In buildings that qualify for the elevator exemption, elevator access is not required to the mezzanine level of a movie theater. In addition, if the theater is part of a shopping center or shopping mall, and the theater mezzanine is not part of a floor level housing at least one sales or rental establishment, the mezzanine is not considered part of the shopping center or shopping mall, as defined in section 36.401(d)(1)(ii)(B) of the ADA title III regulations, and does not have to be accessible by

elevator. Section 4.33 of the ADA Accessibility Guidelines requires that wheelchair locations in movie theaters adjoin an accessible route that also serves as a means of egress. Any aisle or portion of an aisle that serves as an accessible route to a wheelchair location must comply with all of the requirements in the ADA Accessibility Guidelines for accessible routes including 4.3 Accessible Route and 4.8 Ramps. Under circumstances where wheelchair seating will be located adjacent to a portion of an aisle that serves as an accessible means of egress, then other portions of that aisle and other aisles that do not serve the accessible wheelchair locations are not required to comply with the requirements for ramps. ADA does not specify the location of the accessible means of egress. Therefore, the accessible means of egress from wheelchair locations can be through the rear, the side, or the front of the theater. We agree that further discussion of the exception to section 4.33.3 of the guidelines relating to sight lines would be appropriate. If you wish to arrange for a meeting on this issue, please contact Philip L. Breen, Special Legal Counsel, at (202) 616-7526. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Director Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act