Thanks to the ADA - Drive-thru Access

  • July 3, 2020

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helps individuals to request changes quickly when a business is not accessible. This has been very important during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A client who is deaf contacted DRT and reported that he could not order food at the drive-thru of fast-food restaurants. He always went into the restaurant to order his food before the pandemic. However, now, due to COVID, customers could not go into most fast-food places and the restaurants would not take his order at the drive-thru window. 

The restaurant said our client had to order at the drive-thru intercom. However, he could not order there because he uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. Without effective communication, the restaurant staff could not understand what he wanted to order. DRT needed to deal with this issue right away

Under the ADA, people with disabilities are allowed equal access to public accommodations and commercial facilities like restaurants. DRT prepared a Statement of Request for six popular fast-food restaurant chains and sent it to more than 300 restaurants across the state. This statement provided guidance for helping people who are deaf order at the drive-thru during this pandemic when the insides of restaurants are closed. You can read the full statement here

Now, thanks to the ADA, deaf individuals can order and enjoy their favorite fast foods during the pandemic. 

drive-thru-food.jpg

Image description: Yellow sign reading 'Drive-Thru, Clearance 9 feet.'

Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) is a nonprofit legal services organization that provides free legal advocacy services to protect the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities.

Middle Tennessee (Admin Office)

2 International Plaza, Suite 825
Nashville, TN 37217

Phone: 615-298-1080
Fax: 615-298-2046

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Phone: 865-670-2944
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Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: 901-458-6013
Fax: 901-249-2933