In the January/February issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, HLAA’s advocacy column focused on the new rules issued by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding movie theater compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for movie captioning and audio description. We have since received several requests for more details. The new rules, which took effect on January 17, do require movie theaters to provide the necessary equipment for closed movie captioning and audio description, however:
- The new rules apply only to movie theaters that have the ability to show movies in a digital format.
- Movie theaters that have captioning devices now, must, as of January 17, notify the public about the devices and have staff to assist patrons with the devices.
- Movie theaters that have been providing digital showings of movies since December 2016 but don’t yet have captioning devices have until June 2, 2018 to come into compliance.
- Theaters must have a minimum number of devices available based on the number of screens they have: for one screen, they must have a minimum of four devices; for 2-7 screens, six devices; 8-15 screens, eight devices; 16 or more screens, 12 devices.
- The rule does not require a movie theater to provide open captioning. However, a theater may choose to do so.