CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - In about three weeks, all public swimming pools must have permanent chair lifts for disabled swimmers due to changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Failing to install these lifts by May 21 could cause public pool owners to face penalties, or even be forced to shut down.
The chair lifts are essentially mini cranes that move wheelchair users into the water.
There is a chair lift already installed at the Bubble in Cape Girardeau, and a second chair lift will be available at Cape Splash this summer as well.
The equipment is expensive, running anywhere between $3,500 and $7,000, and the city had no choice but to make room in its budget.
But the city says it's not the first time they've had a short time to comply with federal regulations.
"We stay up to date on it," says Cape Girardeau Aquatics Supervisor Patrick Watson. "I read publications that have the latest on ADA changes and we'll continue to comply and to make it work."
The Association of Pool and Spa Professions as many as 300,000 pools require the upgrade.
Altogether, the trade group says public pool owners could face costs exceeding $1 billion.