About the Accessible Business Entrance (ABE) program

The ABE program ensures that San Francisco businesses welcome everybody.

About the ABE

The Accessible Business Entrance program ensures that San Francisco businesses welcome everybody.

It helps property owners follow accessibility laws so that people with disabilities can access goods and services.

If a building has a business that serves the public, the property owner must provide a main entrance that is accessible to people with disabilities.

All buildings must submit a checklist by June 30, 2022.

Accessible business entrances

An accessible business entrance is free of steps, slopes, excessively heavy doors or other structural barriers, like entryways that are too narrow for a wheelchair or mobility scooter.

Background

In 2016, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance No. 51-16, or the Mandatory Disability Access Improvements. In September 2021, the law was amended.

The law requires property owners and tenants to make their business entrances physically accessible. This law helps property owners and their tenants achieve access to their business to the greatest extent possible.

This law is in addition to state and Federal accessibility requirements that property owners must meet under the Americans with Disabilities Act Title III.

Serving the public

The ABE program includes businesses that serve the public.

Businesses that serve the public are places where the public will enter a building to buy goods or services. 

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Banks
  • Health Clubs
  • Offices
  • Bars and Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Theaters
  • Grocery and Retail Stores
  • Hair Stylists
  • Medical Offices
  • Daycare Centers

Compliance

To comply with the ABE, you will need to do 1 of the following:

  • Request an exemption
  • Tell us you have already made your entrance accessible
  • Get your entrance evaluated and make it accessible

Go to the “Choose your process” section on the main ABE page to learn which applies to you and what steps to take.

Exemptions

You may request an exemption from the Accessible Business Entrance program if you are a:

  • Religious organization
  • Private club
  • Not a place of public accommodation
  • Newly constructed building with a building permit form (Form 1 /2) filed on or after January 1, 2002

You can also request an exemption if your property is a:

  • Residential building
  • Live/work unit
  • Commercial condo above the ground floor

Other accessibility considerations

You are also responsible to follow other aspects of Title III of the ADA. See our guidance from the Office of Small Business about how to follow Title III of the ADA.

Last updated May 19, 2022