Businesses in Salt Lake City are required to enable closed captions (CC) on televisions located in public areas.
In February 2023, Salt Lake City passed a Closed Captioning Ordinance. This ordinance requires TVs that are visible in the public areas of your business to have the “closed captions” (CC) feature enabled.
Closed captioning is a service delivered by programming providers that puts text of the dialogue and other audible information on the screen. The signal that creates captions is included with the movie or TV show, and it needs to be decoded in order to be displayed. All televisions manufactured after 1993 are equipped with this decoder. With the onset of cable and satellite set-top boxes, the decoding is often done by those boxes. More recently, streaming service apps provide both the captioning signal and the decoding ability within their service.
The City passed this ordinance in order to ensure that all customers and patrons of Salt Lake City businesses have equal access to the information that is being broadcast on TVs in public areas. Captions provide access to the audible TV content for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, older adults with hearing difficulties, people who speak a language other than English, and many others.
Guidance On Setting Up Closed Captioning
Depending on the program you are broadcasting in your business, you will enable closed captioning either:
(1) in the streaming app , e.g. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube;
(2) through your cable settings, e.g. Xfinity, DirecTV, etc.; or
(3) on in your television’s settings.
Once captions are enabled, they will remain enabled unless you go in to turn them off, so you
will only have to do this one time.
Enabling Closed Captions Using Your TV’s Settings
The exact menu depends on the TV manufacturer. Many have a closed captioning (“CC”) button on the remote for easy access. If it doesn’t, you may need to navigate to your device’s menu or settings. Try the “gear icon” and look for “Accessibility” settings. Below are a few links that may be able to help you with the exact steps required for your TV.
Enabling Closed Captions Using Your Cable Settings or Streaming App
If you are unable to enable closed captioning using your TV settings, you may need to enable captions through the programming provider, aka Cable or Streaming.
Sorenson has compiled directions with screenshots for enabling captions from the following cable and streaming services:
- Amazon Prime
- Apple TV
- Samsung TV Plus
If you need additional support for enabling closed captioning in your business, you can call the ADA Coordinator at (801) 535-7739.
Captions Complaint Form: This form can be used to report violations of the Closed Captioning ordinance.
Business Response Form: This form can be used by any business to respond to a notice regarding violations about the Closed Captioning ordinance.
Did You Know… Letter to Local Businesses : An introduction letter to local businesses which explains the requirements of the City’s captioning requirements.
Instructions on Enabling Closed Captions: How to turn on closed captions on various televisions and streaming services.
Frequently Asked Questions: Printable document of frequently asked questions about the City’s captions ordinance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I report a business that is not in compliance?
|If you experience a business that does not have closed captioning turned on for their public facing televisions, you can contact the ADA Coordinator by phone (801-535-7739), email (ADA@slcgov.com), or by completing the Captions Complaint Form here.
I’m a business owner/manager and I received a notice from the City that I am not in compliance. What should I do now?
|You have 30 days from the date on the notice to get in contact with the ADA Coordinator. You can contact the ADA Coordinator by phone (801-535-7739), email (ADA@slcgov.com), or by completing the Business Response Form here.
What is the Salt Lake City Closed Captioning Ordinance?
|The Closed Captioning Ordinance in places of public accommodation requires all businesses in Salt Lake City to turn on the “closed captioning” (CC) feature of TVs that are viewable by the public in their establishments.
When does the Closed Captioning Ordinance take effect?
|This ordinance is in effect now. It was passed unanimously by the Salt Lake City Council on February 21st, 2023, and signed into law on March 15th, 2023.
Why was this ordinance passed?
|This ordinance was passed in order to ensure that all customers and patrons of Salt Lake City businesses have equal access to the information that is being broadcast on TVs in public areas. It will provide access for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing, older adults with hearing difficulties, people who speak a language other than English, and many others.
What is Closed Captioning?
|This ordinance applies to all “places of public accommodation” in Salt Lake City. In other words, any business or entity that is open to the public. This includes, but is not limited to, restaurants, bars, gyms, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, banks, hospitals, and others. However, captions are only required to be turned on if the TV is displayed for the public to watch.
How do I know if my TV has captions?
|Closed captioning (CC) is a service delivered by the TV programming providers, that puts text of the dialogue and other audible information on the screen. The signal is included with the movie or TV show and needs to be decoded in order to be displayed.
What am I required to do under the ordinance?
|If you have any televisions in your business that are displayed for members of the public to watch, you are required to turn on closed captioning for that TV. Members of the public include, but are not limited to, customers, patrons, clients, patients, and others.
Does closed captioning cost anything?
|No. Closed captioning is a free technology that is built into television broadcasting, cable signals, and streaming services. You are not required to pay for any captioning services.
What if my TV does not have closed captions?
|All televisions manufactured after 1993 have closed captioning. If your TV predates 1993 and does not have closed captioning, you are not required to purchase a new TV. However, you are encouraged to do so in order to gain all the benefits of having a more accessible business.
How does turning on closed captioning help my business?
|By enabling the closed captioning feature, you are making your business more accessible and welcoming to thousands of Salt Lake City residents and visitors who may not be able to hear the TV. These customers will now have equal access to the entertainment, news, or other information you are providing, and you will be eliminating a barrier to access that previously required people to ask for captioning to be turned on. It also helps your staff by no longer requiring them to take time from their usual duties to find a remote and try to figure out how to enable captions.
What about captions in languages other than English?
|The ordinance does not require translations of captions. Broadcast and cable television generally only offer captions in English, although some support Spanish captions for Spanish language programming. Streaming services increasingly offer both audio and captions tracks in a variety of languages. The purpose of this ordinance is to ensure access to information being provided in audio format for those who may have difficulty hearing it. Therefore, enabling captions in any language that serves that purpose will be considered compliance.
What happens if I do not turn on closed captioning for my business’s TVs?
|Enabling captions is now a requirement for businesses in Salt Lake City with public facing TVs. The ADA Coordinator and Salt Lake City’s Accessibility and Disability Commission will be working cooperatively with businesses that are not in compliance, to provide resources and information about how to enable closed captions. Any reports of noncompliance will be addressed on an individual basis.
If the City receives a report that captions are not enabled at a particular business, the ADA Coordinator will reach out with resources. In the case of repeated or egregious noncompliance, the City will issue a notice of violation and associated fee to the business in noncompliance.
What if I keep all my business’s TVs on mute?
|Even TVs that are on mute must have closed captioning turned on.
How can I get more information?
|If you have additional questions, you can email the ADA Coordinator at ADA@slcgov.com.
Complaints that a Salt Lake City program, service, or activity is not accessible to persons with disabilities should be directed to:
Ashley Lichtle, ADA Coordinator
Office of the Mayor
451 South State Street, Room 345
Salt Lake City, UT 844114-5474