Last month TUT.BY wrote about how wheelchair users face barriers while eating out in Minsk. This week the reporters checked what have been done after several popular food spots were tested for wheelchair accessibility.
Wheelchair users don’t go out, do they?
Wheelchair friendliness is often overlooked by business owners and service providers in Minsk. But this is not about Svobody.4.
One of the most progressive bars in the city got a wheelchair ramp last year after Sasha Avdevich left a request on their Facebook page.
A bit later he met its managers and suggested to install a mobile ramp that can be folded and retracted, when it’s necessary.
Initially Dolce confectionery installed several iron guides that were quite inconvenient for the wheelchair users.
“Wheelchairs are different. Where do these standards come from? How is the width between racks chosen?”
However, the situation soon changed thanks to the “humane and understanding attitude of the owners”.
The same mobile installation appeared at a French bakery restaurant Paul at 21 Internatsianalnaya street.
During Sasha’s last visit, the manager admitted that she had no idea such racks but in the end it didn’t stop her from aquiring them.
An American fast food restaurant near railway station was among those who quickly responded to a request of installing a wheelchair ramp.
“I often go to Lida, there’s a shuttle bus stop near KFC, so it was convenient for me to drop by. Once I asked the guys to help me with getting inside.
I bought something and left my proposal (for setting a ramp) in the book of comments and suggestions. And they did that,” says Sasha.
“Nothing should get in the way of a whopper and its happy owner!”
Another fast food restaurant ready to make Minsk a healthier and more inclusive city is Burger King.
While it is working on how to make it easier for their customers to still their hunger, they have a temporary solution of calling the employees to help a person to get inside.
In Lida, Sasha’s hometown, there are also a couple of places – Dobraya Kava and Karchma where the wheelchair users won’t feel abandoned or neglected.
This year Sasha and local public activist Anton Motolko explored public transport, cafes and washrooms for accessibility and the results were extremely dissapointing.