Rochester City Council has approved a closed captioning ordinance that will require any business that provides television access to its patrons to utilize the closed captioning option.
The ordinance requires businesses to provide closed captioning during all regular business hours and is designed to increase access to information for community members and visitors who are deaf and hard of hearing.
“Rochester has the highest deaf population per capita in the nation, so it is important that we have access to communication in the community,” Jonathan Dollhopf, deaf systems advocate for Regional Center for Independent Living, said in a statement. “Captioning makes information on televisions accessible to deaf people, and with this ordinance our deaf community will now have the same access as everyone else watching TV in public.”
Dollhopf brought the issue to City Council, testified about its importance and worked with council members on the issue.
The ordinance is the latest effort the City of Rochester has made to become more accessible to the disabled community. In 2015, City Council passed an amendment to the snow removal ordinance that requires property owners to ensure sidewalks are clear so that wheelchair users and other pedestrians can safely traverse sidewalks in the winter.
“We are thrilled that the City of Rochester is committed to becoming a more accessible and welcoming city for people with disabilities,” said Stephanie Woodward, director of advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights. “CDR works hard to improve access in the community and we are thankful that City Council and the mayor’s office have made this a priority as well.”
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