When is it ok to use an accessible restroom stall?

Do the same rules apply to accessible stalls in the bathroom that apply to wheelchair accessible parking spaces?

I’ve always thought so, or a modified version anyway. Wile I’d never park in an accessible spot, but I have used an accessible stall. But only if there’s no other choice.

But is that really necessary?

Here’s why I ask. One morning each week I work out of a local coffee shop instead of the office. I always have my 17” laptop and a bag full of papers, notes, etc. with me.

Over the course of a couple of hours, I drink at least two cups of coffee and eventually need to use the restroom.

I hate to leave my computer and things unattended, so I wait until I’m ready to leave and lug everything into the stall with me. Not exactly hygienic, but theft-proof.

The non-accessible stall in the coffee shop is small. I have to hang my laptop case, other bag and coat on the door, maneuver around them in order to use the facilities, then try to get them down and out of the stall without getting pee on them or dropping anything.

Today I noticed how luxuriously large the accessible stall is. If it can accommodate a wheelchair, there’s plenty of room for my bags, coat and me.

There was no one else in the restroom, so I decided to be daring and use the accessible stall.

It was nice and roomy, but I felt guilty about it. What if someone who needed the stall came in and had to wait?

So what’s the rule? Is it acceptable to use the accessible stall if it’s just a convenience and not a physical necessity?

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