Closed Captioning Ordinance

The City of Rochester’s Closed Captioning Ordinance, Chapter 63-3 of the Rochester City Code Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Why did the City adopt this Ordinance?  

Television receivers are increasingly used in facilities open to the general public as a source of news and entertainment. In order to include members of the community who are deaf or hard of hearing in the enjoyment of publicly televised programming, there is now a requirement that closed captioning be activated where a television receiver is in use at a place of public accommodation. 

What is required under Rochester’s new ordinance?

Any person owning or managing a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement must activate closed captioning on any closed-captioned television receiver in use in any public area during regular hours. 

What is a “closed-captioned television receiver”?  

A “closed-captioned television receiver” is a receiver of television programming that has the ability to display closed captioning, including but not limited to a television, digital set top box, and other technology capable of displaying closed captioning for television programming. 

What is a “place of public accommodation, resort or amusement”? 

A “place of public accommodation, resort or amusement” includes any establishment located in the City of Rochester, where goods, services, accommodations and amusements of any kind are offered, sold or otherwise made available to the general public. For example, this would include hospital waiting rooms, bars, restaurants and health clubs.  

This term does not include any institution, club or place of accommodation which proves that it is in its nature distinctly private. 

Where must compliance occur? 

The closed captioning must be activated on television receivers in use in any publicly accessible area of a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement. 

When must compliance occur? 

The closed-captioned television receiver must be activated during regular business hours. “Regular business hours” means the hours of any day in which a place of public accommodation, resort or amusement is open to members of the general public. 

How will the requirement be enforced? 

Violations of this law are subject to the remedies set forth in §63-10(B) of the Rochester City Code, which states: 

Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged discriminatory practice in violation of this chapter shall have a cause of action in any court of appropriate jurisdiction for injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages and such other remedies as may be appropriate. 

When will this Ordinance take effect? 

The new law takes effect on December 19, 2017.