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Accessibility: a fund to make hotels, shops and restaurants more suitable for people with disabilities

An accelerator. Will the next Olympic Games (OG) and Paralympic Games (JOP) serve to catch up with France in terms of accessibility of public places to people with disabilities? At least, as the event approaches, which is expected to welcome millions of visitors, this is the objective stated by the government, which is preparing to launch, Monday October 2, a counter to help merchants, restaurateurs and hoteliers to invest and renovate their establishments in this direction.

As the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, had already revealed during the Olympic and Paralympic Committee on July 19, a global fund of 1.5 billion euros for making the country more accessible – earmarked as a priority aimed at the host cities of the Olympic Games and Olympic Games − will be launched, partly this fall and for the rest in the first quarter of 2024.

Of this total, in 2024, 430 million euros will be released for transport work, 300 million will be for public buildings and universities and 500 million for communities. Finally, two sectors will be concerned from this fall, namely that of digital accessibility and telephony (60 million euros) and that of establishments open to the public (ERP) of category 5, precisely shops, bars, cafes and restaurants and hotels which will be able to share 300 million euros.

Ramp and ground markings

Of the 900,000 establishments of this type in the territory, around 560,000 are currently not accessible, many of them having obtained exemptions since the 2005 law which imposed initial obligations in this area.

“Progress falls short of expectations”agreed Fadila Khattabi, Minister Delegate for People with Disabilities, during a press briefing on Friday September 29, while one in six French people have a disability and these arrangements can also bring, according to her, “comfort for the elderly”.

With this fund, “the State undertakes to cover 50% of the cost of the work within the limit of 20,000 euros”, indicated the same day Olivia Grégoire, Minister responsible for small and medium-sized businesses, commerce, crafts and tourism, inviting communities to also provide their co-financing. This will involve simple works allowing, for example, the installation of a banister on a staircase, marking on the floor for visually impaired people, purchasing magnetic loops or obtaining noise-cancelling headphones, etc.

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