Make your business accessible

We are committed to ensuring that everyone in our community is able to enjoy the benefits of living or working in Yarra.

We want to see everyone enjoy local restaurants, shopping strips, music venues and cultural events.

Make it easy for people to find you

If your business is accessible, let people know. For example, if you have wheelchair access, include this in your promotions and advertisements.

Put up clear signage

Put up clear signage to help people with vision or learning difficulties identify your premises.

Contrast the colour of your business entrance

Paint the entrance to your business in a contrasting colour to its surroundings (you must first check that this is allowed by contacting our Planning Unit on 9205 5555). If there are multiple entrances, provide clear directions about where each entrance is located.

Be aware of reflective glass

Clear glass entrances can be hard to see, reflections and shadows can cause confusion for people with vision impairments. Make your glass entrance safe and easy to see by placing markings 900mm -1200mm from the ground. Markings such as business name or logos and opening hours in a contrasting colour on the shop front glass, so it can be clearly seen from the footpath.

Remove obstacles

Remove dangerous obstacles such as advertising boards, displays or furniture from the entrance to reduce the risk of people in wheelchairs, older people, or people with vision impairment falling over them.

Make it easy for people to get in

Please note that some of these modifications may require permission from us.

  • Ideally, remove steps and provide a level entry to your premises.        
  • If making the entrance level consider moving the main entrance to a more accessible location.
  • Ensure your door handle is at a height that is easy for all customers to reach.
  • Make the door easier to open by making it lighter or automatic.
  • Make the doorway 800mm wide minimum to allow for a person with a walking frame, or wheelchair, to pass through with ease.
  • Make sure doormats are secure and level with the surrounding floor.

If possible, make sure there are clear sight lines between the entry and the counter so that staff are aware when a customer needs assistance to enter the premises or to purchase goods.

Make it easy for people to get around

Once inside your business, customers should be able to find their way to all sales areas, browse and inspect goods, and access the counter.

For people who are blind or have vision impairments

  • Make sure signs and price labels are clear. Ensure overhanging signs do not cause a hazard.
  • Ensure menus in cafes and restaurants are easy to read. Provide written menus or other product information in large print versions such as 14 point Arial or have staff read information out to customers. Look at the possibility of providing information in Braille or consider speech technology menus with a regularly changing menu.  
  • Ensure your business is has good lighting in all areas, especially around service counters.

For people who may have difficulty hearing `

Find ways to reduce the amount of background noise or to turn down music when necessary. Engage in alternative ways to communicate such as whiteboard, ipads and pointing.

For people with mobility impairments

  • Make sure shopping aisles are wide enough (preferably 1.200 m).
  • Ensure at least part of your customer service area is at a height that is suitable for people using wheelchairs (750 – 800mm from floor level).
  • Make sure at least one of your checkout aisles is wide enough.
  • Place goods, particularly the most popular ones, within reach for someone using a wheelchair. If this is not possible, make sure staff are trained to offer assistance.
  • Make a chair with arm rests available for customers who may need to wait.
  • Ensure that electronic payment systems are on a long enough cord to pass over to someone using a wheelchair or use a wireless EFTPOS. Albert EFTPOS terminals are virtually impossible to use for blind and vision impaired users as there is no tactile keypad.     
  • Make sure the floor surface is non-slip and free from trip hazards.
  • Look at installing a hearing loop or other system at your front counters to assist people using hearing aids, especially if there is a screen at the counter.

Make the most of customer service

Treat each customer with disability as an individual customer with their own likes and dislikes. Focus on the person, not their disability. Always address the customer directly, not other people who may be with them (such as a sign interpreter).

  • Ask the customer first if they want help. Do not assume they need assistance. If the customer declines your help, always accept this response.
  • If you are having a conversation that will last more than a few moments with a customer using a wheelchair, bend to eye level or pull up a chair.
  • Ask customers with disability how they would like their goods or services to be provided.

When communicating with people who may have a learning difficulty, an intellectual disability or brain injury

  • Address the customer directly, listen carefully, speak clearly and check for understanding. Always use clear language without being patronising.
  • Allow your customer time to ask questions and try not to rush them.
  • Try not to overload people with an intellectual disability with information. Reassure your customer you are there to help if they forget the information.

When communicating with people who have a hearing impairment

  • Always face the customer so they can read your lips.
  • Use your normal tone of voice and volume. If possible, move out of the way of background noise or turn down any loud background music.    
  • Have a pen and paper on hand to help you communicate with your customer.
  • If you are unsure if a service dog is accredited you can ask for appropriate certification.
  • Never pat or distract a hearing service dog or offer it food while it is in a harness. They are trained specifically to know how to behave in public.

When communicating with someone who has vision impairment

  • Always identify yourself by name. If appropriate, ask for their name so you can address them directly and so that they know you are talking to them and not someone else.
  • If your customer asks for assistance to go somewhere, offer your arm and if they accept ask which side you should be on so they can hold just above your elbow.
  • If you are unsure if a service dog is accredited you can ask for appropriate certification.
  • Never pat or distract a guide service dog or offer it food while it is in a harness. They are trained specifically to know how to behave in public.    

Accessible toilets

Where possible, an accessible toilet should be provided in premises where customers may be spending a long period of time (such as restaurants and cafes). If you do not have an accessible toilet, make sure all staff know the location of the nearest accessible toilet.

For more information call Yarra City Council on 9205 5555 or email