April 27, 2015 • Premises Liability
As the crown jewel of the eastern seaboard, the Big Apple gets hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Tourism and safety may not be two words that often get talked about together, but providing a safe environment is key to running a successful tourism business anywhere in the city.
Premises Safety: Your Office and Home Base of Operations
One basic aspect of safety for tourism businesses is the careful maintenance of business premises. Portions of the New York legal code talk about the general requirements and responsibility for any business or property owner to remove snow, ice and dirt from public spaces that are part of the business premises.
This might seem obvious, but it’s something that’s often violated, sometimes in arbitrary ways. For example, it’s important to look at whether items like garbage piled up in the street may obstruct a pathway or lead to safety issues for the public or for individual customers or visitors.
There’s also responsibility for businesses conducting tours or other events to look out for passenger safety and accessibility issues throughout the route. Tours have to contend with all sorts of other urban activity daily, and business owners need to make a good-faith effort to make sure individuals who don’t know the city well won’t be left behind or stranded in foreign areas that could put them in harm’s way.
When it comes to public transportation, lodging and more, there’s often a joint responsibility for protecting tourists. Much of the burden falls on local government, but some aspects of “taking care of tourists” fall into the category of business responsibility. For instance, if a tourism business is housing tourists in a hostel, lodge or other facility, that facility must have proper and reasonable security infrastructure in place.
An interesting pamphlet made by 1970s-era NYC professionals may seem quaint, but the core issues still apply to the safety of those visiting the city who may be vulnerable because they aren’t familiar with the environment they will find. New York City may be, in various ways, a ‘safer place’ than it once was, but there’s still a responsibility to protect tourists and others on city streets.
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