Valet Parking And COVID: Everything You Need To Know To Stay Safe

Valet parking can be super convenient. It allows you to relax and not worry about finding a parking space during busy times in busy locations. At hotels, restaurants, and casinos, being able to avail of valet parking means you can spend more time enjoying yourself and less time searching for a parking space. Having your vehicle parked by a valet can be quite the luxury!

As a disabled driver, you benefit from valet parking because it means you can exit your vehicle directly in front of your destination and therefore have less distance to cover. Valet parking can make a disabled driver’s life a lot easier. But during the COVID pandemic, when social distancing is being used to prevent the spread of infection, is valet parking a safe option? While valet parking is helpful and convenient, could it also be risky during the coronavirus pandemic?

Today we will discuss valet parking and COVID, detailing everything you need to know to stay safe.

What Is Valet Parking?

Valet parking is when an attendant (i.e. a valet) takes your vehicle and parks it for you. The valet will give you a ticket; when you need your vehicle again you show the ticket and it will be returned to you.

Valet parking exists to save you the bother of searching for a parking space. It is most typically offered by businesses to their customers, and is common at restaurants, hotels, casinos, and stores.

Dr Handicap - valet
Image by Olichel on Pixabay: Should I valet park during coronavirus?

What Are The Benefits Of Using Valet Parking?

The benefits of using valet parking are:

  • Time saving
  • Less hassle to find a parking space
  • Less distance to walk from vehicle to destination

The benefits to a business of offering valet parking include:

  • Fitting more customers in by parking vehicles efficiently
  • Attracting more customers by offering added convenience

Can I Use Valet Parking With A Disabled Parking Permit?

You can avail of valet parking services if you have a disabled parking permit. In fact, using a valet parking service can be even better than using a disabled parking space in that it usually offers the absolute shortest distance to travel between your vehicle and your destination.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit?

Not every business offers valet parking, so getting a disabled parking permit is still a very good idea. The qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit are:

  • Not being able to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • Any condition that impairs mobility to the extent that the use of a walking aid such as a wheelchair, prosthetic device, cane, or brace is required
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • An orthopedic, neurological, or arthritic condition that seriously impairs mobility
  • Legal blindness

Valet Parking And COVID

Knowing how to park safely during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial because the disease is extremely contagious. So, is valet parking safe during COVID? Yes, provided that the valet service implements COVID safety measures.

What COVID Safety Measures Have Valet Parking Services Been Putting In Place?

Wondering “How can I find COVID-safe valet parking?” The best way to guarantee COVID-safe valet parking is to call ahead and ensure the business in question has strict hygiene and safety protocols in place.

To stay COVID-safe, all valets must:

  • Complete a self-screening survey every day
  • Wear disposable surgical masks and disposable gloves while working
  • Properly dispose of PPE
  • Avoid handshakes
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces
  • Wash hands per CDC guidelines
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Follow SAFEPARK sanitization guidelines from the National Parking Association

Is Valet Parking A Higher-Risk Option During The Pandemic?

Valet parking is higher risk during the pandemic because COVID is a contagious disease, and if proper safety measures are not taken, a valet could pass infection on to their customers (or vice versa).

Should I Valet Park During Coronavirus?

If the proper COVID safety measures are taken by both driver and valet, it is safe to use valet parking during coronavirus.

Dr Handicap - parking lot
Image by Jordan Graff on Unsplash: Is valet parking safe during COVID?

What Can Disabled Drivers Do To Minimize Risk When Using Valet Parking?

When you are using valet parking during coronavirus, you can minimize risk of passing on or contracting COVID by:

  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Sanitizing your hands
  • Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces in your vehicle

How Can You Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

The best way to get a disabled parking permit is to arrange a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional through the Dr. Handicap online clinic. Once your disability has been verified by the examining medical professional, they will complete the relevant sections of the DMV disabled parking application form, sign it, and email it directly to you.

Featured image by Paul Volkmer on Unsplash

7 Things You Should Know About Disabled Parking If You’re In a Wheelchair

Millions of Americans use a wheelchair at some point in their lifetime. Some people are long-term wheelchair users, while others spend only a few weeks in one due to a temporary disability. Knowing how to park when you’re in a wheelchair, as well as your disabled parking rights, is important.

The large majority of American wheelchair users are capable of driving, especially with the impressive array of vehicle adaptations for wheelchair-using disabled drivers available today. Technology, in the form of vehicle adaptations and modifications, as well as handy smartphone apps, is making driving easier than ever for wheelchair users.

Several considerations should be taken into account when you are in a wheelchair and using disabled parking. What type of disabled parking permit should you get? What are the legal regulations regarding disabled parking spaces? How do you get in and out of your vehicle safely? What technology can you make use of as a wheelchair user? How do you apply for a disabled parking permit as a wheelchair user?

Read on for seven key things you need to know about handicap parking as a wheelchair user.

Dr Handicap - wheelchair user
Image by on Marcus Aurelius on Pexels: Disabled parking for wheelchair users can make life a whole lot easier.

1. A Wide Range Of Injuries Can Necessitate Wheelchair Usage

People need to use a wheelchair for a wide array of reasons. Some people are disabled for life, whereas others use a wheelchair for only a short period of time. Lots of disabled parking permit-holders use a wheelchair.

Needing to use a wheelchair, for any reason, is a qualifying condition in and of itself for a disabled parking permit. Some of the most common reasons that disabled parking permit-holders use a wheelchair are:

  • Amputation
  • Arthritis
  • Broken bones
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Lung disease
  • Neurological diseases
  • Orthopedic conditions

2. Several Types Of Disabled Parking Permits Are Available

Wheelchair users can avail of several different types of disabled parking permit. The exact types of permit available varies state-by-state, but all states have some versions of the following disabled parking permit variations:

  • Permanent disabled parking placard or license plate. This is for people with a long-term disability. Many wheelchair users fall into this category, such as amputees and people with a neurological disease.
  • Temporary disabled parking placard. This is for people whose disability is expected to be short-term. Wheelchair users in this category include people with broken bones and other temporary injuries, and in some states, pregnant people.
  • Disabled Veterans license plates. DV plates are for people whose disability is related to their military service.
  • Organizational placards and plates. These are for organizations that transport disabled people.

3. Wheelchair Accessible Parking Spaces Are Regulated By The ADA

The Americans With Disabilities Act covers the rules and regulations regarding universal access parking spaces. Some of the rules the ADA stipulates are:

  • There must be a certain number of disabled spaces in any parking facility. (For example, in a facility with 1–25 parking spaces there must be one disabled space, and in a facility with 26–50 spaces there must be two disabled spaces.)
  • Medical facilities must have additional disabled parking spaces.
  • Disabled spaces must connect to the shortest accessible route to the building or facility they serve.
  • Disabled spaces must be eight feet wide and van-accessible spaces must be 11 feet wide. Access aisles for either type of space must be five feet wide.
  • Disabled spaces must be clearly marked by the universal access symbol.
Dr Handicap - disabled parking place
Image by David Magalhães on Unsplash: Handicap parking spaces are regulated by the ADA.

4. It’s Important To Know How To Enter And Sit In Your Vehicle Safely

As a wheelchair driver, it’s important that you are careful at all times when getting in and out of your vehicle.

Some of the most important recommendations when getting in and out of your vehicle as a wheelchair user include:

  • If possible, get into the vehicle’s seat, which is designed for maximum crash safety.
  • If you need to stay in your wheelchair, make sure it is a WCl9-compliant wheelchair (which means it is designed for use as a vehicle seat, has a safety belt, and has been crash-tested).
  • Position your seatbelt correctly.
  • Safely anchor your wheelchair using a four-point tie-down system, whether you are sitting in the wheelchair or in the vehicle seat.

5. Vehicle Adaptations Can Make Life Easier For Disabled Drivers

Vehicle adaptations for wheelchair users are improving all the time. Some of the most useful adaptations for wheelchair users are:

  • Hand controls
  • Adaptive electronic controls
  • Wheelchair ramps and lifts
  • Lowered floors and raised roofs
  • Steering wheel extensions
  • Transfer seats

6. Smartphone Disabled Parking Apps Can Help You Find Parking

Several apps are available to make life easier for wheelchair users looking for disabled parking.

Wheelmate is an example of a useful app that helps you to find wheelchair accessible parking and restrooms near you.

7. Applying For Disabled Parking Is Easy

Getting a handicap parking permit when you’re in a wheelchair is an easy process. Simply go to Dr. Handicap and set up an online consultation with a doctor, who will verify your disability and recommend the best type of disabled parking permit for you.

They will write you a letter of recommendation and you will have your own disabled parking permit within a few weeks.

Featured image by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels

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