Public toilets during lockdown: Are public toilets open? Will they reopen in stage 2?

May 26, 2020
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Public toilets left public use when the lockdown came into force at the end of March, bringing the rest of public life with it. While some may go unmissed, whether it be due to their location or hygienic state, they will become vital as the UK begins to reopen.

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Are public toilets open?

Public toilets have closed with the hospitality industry, as they are no longer required to function with people not requiring extended time outdoors.

One of the many reasons they remain shut comes down to hygiene, as hundreds of people may pass through one location every day, and if just one of them was positive with COVID-19, it could spread out into the rest of the population.

Any future reopening of public bathrooms would require significant changes to how they work.

READ MORE: Sadiq Khan STILL considering whether to make face masks mandatory

Public toilets during lockdown when will toilets open lockdown stage 2

Public toilets during lockdown: Are public toilets open? Will they reopen in stage 2? (Image: GETTY)

Public toilets during lockdown: Public toilets

Public toilets during lockdown: Public toilets will remain shut for the foreseeable future (Image: GETTY)

Will public toilets reopen in stage two?

Public toilets are currently closed until “further notice” according to most councils.

While the Government has set out its forthcoming steps to reopen aspects of the UK’s public life, they have made no specific advice about public toilets.

However, experts have lent their advice on what would need to happen for them to safely operate once more.

Public toilets during lockdown: Public toilets

Public toilets during lockdown: Public toilets rank amongst some of the easiest places to spread infections (Image: GETTY)

Speaking to The Guardian, Peter Collignon, a professor of infectious diseases and microbiology at the Australian National University, said the surfaces of public bathrooms present an imminent public health threat.

He said: “The major way coronavirus is transmitted is via respiratory droplets, so you can catch it off surfaces that your hands touch.

“There are other ways, it can even carry in faeces too. About 60% of patients show that.

“We need to have public bathrooms open up as lockdowns ease, but the more non-touch we have the better.”

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Public toilets during lockdown: Public toilets

Public toilets during lockdown: Public toilets will have to reopen with social distancing (Image: GETTY)

“Taps that you activate by sensor need to be considered.”

Professor Collignon added people may want to double up their washing efforts by applying hand sanitiser when leaving the bathroom.

He said: “It’s time for a rethink on lots of things, and bathrooms are one of them.

“COVID-19 and rates of other respiratory viruses are all dropping as a result of our hand hygiene and distancing measures so far.”

“For the next year we’re going to have to focus on COVID, but these measures could significantly reduce a lot of infections if we continue seriously with hand hygiene.”

The next step for the Government in the coronavirus crisis is to reopen some non-essential retail.

Starting from June 1, non-essential stores such as car showrooms and outdoor markets will be permitted to run once more.

The rest of the retail sector will follow on June 15, with social distancing measures in place.



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