Policy Regarding Persons with Disabilities

    Cotton’s Restaurant opened in 1985 in Orange Beach, Alabama.  The site of Cotton’s Restaurant dates back to 1952 and sits on a hill on one of the highest elevated points in Orange Beach which created some very difficult circumstances in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, in 2012 and 2013 Cotton’s Restaurant underwent a major renovation to remove barriers that prevented our friends with disabilities from reaching the second floor of the restaurant. The restaurant now provides accessible parking, a ramp to the chair lift, accessible restrooms and accessible routes to the dining room from the accessible parking and chair lift.  Wheelchair seating along with companion seating is also available. Cotton’s Restaurant has also adopted a nondiscriminatory policy regarding persons with disabilities in addition to a policy regarding service animals.

It is the policy of Cotton’s Restaurant, its management and staff, to welcome individuals with disabilities and to not discriminate against persons with disabilities.

Because the bar has no lowered portion, we will at all times make the bar service available to persons with disabilities in the lounge area and restaurant area.  The service shall be prompt and without additional charge to a person with a disability who cannot access the bar.

When dining tables and chairs are rearranged, we will at all times make certain that pathways are maintained clear and open to a minimum width of 36 inches and that the accessible tables we acquired to accommodate individuals who use wheelchairs will not be removed or relocated from the main dining areas and lounge.  We will also locate accessible tables in locations in the dining room that provide views to the beaches and Gulf of Mexico so that persons with disabilities can enjoy this experience.

We will furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communications with individuals with disabilities, such as individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision.  Consistent with the training all management and staff shall receive, we will assist customers by, for example, reading the menu aloud to dining customers who are blind or have low vision, or by writing notes to communicate about the menu with a customer who is deaf.


     This business establishment is committed to making reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of service animals by persons with disabilities.  Service animals play an important role in ensuring the independence of people with disabilities, and it is therefore our policy to welcome on or in our business premises any animal that is individually trained to assist a person with a disability.

What is a Service Animal?

     Service animals include any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.  Service animals do not always have a harness, a sign, or a symbol indicating that they are service animals.  A service animal is not a pet.  Service animals assist people with disabilities in many different ways, such as:

*     Guiding people who are blind or have low vision and retrieving dropped objects for them;

*     Alerting people who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds and the presence of others;

*     Carrying and picking up items, opening doors, or flipping switches for people with disabilities who have limited use of hands or arms, limited use of their legs, or limited ability to bend or stoop;

*     Pulling wheelchairs;

*     Alerting people with disabilities to the onset of medical conditions such as seizures, protecting them and cushioning them if they fall, reviving them, and performing other tasks that reduce the risk of disability-related injury;

*     Doing work or performing tasks for persons with traumatic brain injury, intellectual disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities, such as reminding a person with depression to take medication or waking him up, alerting a person with anxiety to the onset of panic attacks, orienting people with schizophrenia to reality, and helping people with intellectual or cognitive disabilities to locate misplaced items, find places, or follow daily routines; and

*     Providing physical support and assisting people with physical disabilities with stability and balance.

Requirements with Regard to Service Animals:

     Most of the time, people with disabilities who use service animals may be easily identified without any need for questioning.  If we can tell by looking, it is our policy not to make an individual feel unwelcome by asking questions.  If we are unsure whether an animal meets the definition of a service animal, it is our policy to ask the individual only two questions at the point that the individual seeks entry to the business premises:

*     Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?

*     What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

     If the individual says yes to the first question and explains the work or tasks that the animal is trained to perform, we will welcome the person and service animal into our premises without asking any additional questions about his or her service animal.  We will not ask an individual questions about his or her disability.  We will not ask an individual to show a license, certification, or special identification card as proof of their animal’s training.  We must permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities to all areas of our property normally used by customers or other members of the public and will treat individuals with service animals with the same courtesy and respect that this business affords to all of our customers.

Manager Responsibilities:

     Management of this business has the right to exclude a service animal from our premises if the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, or the dog is not housebroken.  We will not exclude a particular service animal based on past experience with other animals or based on fear unrelated to an individual service animal’s actual behavior.  Each situation will be considered individually.  When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.

Only the Manager on Duty can decide to exclude a service animal.


Cotton’s Staff & Owners


Click on Exhibit C below for Spanish and Chinese translations of Service Dog Policy

Translations Provided By United States Department of Justice.

Exhibit C to Consent Decree