As things continue to get back to “normal”, more and more of us are venturing out and about. And inevitably, there are going to be times during these outings when we might need to visit a public toilet, whether that’s in a restaurant or pub, shopping centre or beauty spot. But just how safe is it to use a public toilet during a pandemic – or indeed how risky? Read on to hear our thoughts on the subject:
What are the concerns about public toilets and coronavirus?
Shared toilets have the same hazard of any public space – particularly when it comes to surfaces. Door handles, toilet seats, flushes, taps and soap dispensers are being touched by any number of people passing through these areas, so it’s important to be very aware of this. And of course, public toilets are generally small spaces, so social distancing can be challenging, unless everyone is behaving equally responsibly. Add to that potentially poor ventilation and the so-called “toilet plume” – the infectious droplets in the air that arise from a toilet after it has been flushed – it’s not surprising that a lot of us are a little concerned about the safety of public toilets during a pandemic.
What precautions can we take when using public toilets?
Wearing a mask is the first thing you should consider – and if others using the toilets are not wearing masks, then perhaps you should look elsewhere! Avoid touching any surface with your bare hands – or wear a pair of disposable gloves, and make sure you throw them away as soon as you leave. If you have wipes or a disinfectant spray, you can always use these to clean surfaces you might need to touch.
Using a toilet cover – as long as it’s one you provide rather than one being provided – is a good idea to create a barrier between you and the toilet seat. Taking your own toilet paper reduces the risks further. Putting the lid of the toilet down after using it before flushing will avoid toilet plume – and remember to stand away from a toilet that has an automatic flusher. And, most importantly of all, wash and dry your hands thoroughly after using the toilet.
What are those in charge of maintaining public toilets doing?
In some establishments and in some local authority areas, a one person in, one person out limited entry system is being encouraged which certainly increases public safety. With some places, alternate toilet cubicles and wash basins are being closed off to limit use and enable better distancing. In all cases, cleaning rotas should have been increased (with a cleaning rota on display) and there should be clear signage reminding people of all the precautions they should be taking. But if you see that a public toilet is busy, or not particularly clean or well-maintained, it would definitely be worth looking for another option.
Arelle’s Good2Go Toilet Pack
In response to our customers’ concerns about public toilets and coronavirus, we have developed a handy little pack which we hope you might find helpful for situations like this. Products include masks, gloves, seat covers, toilet tissue, wipes, cleaning spray, inco product disposal bags and also some disposable urine bags with crystals in the pouch which solidify the urine into jelly – just in case you can’t find a clean, quiet public toilet!
Click through this link to find out more – and questions you might have, do not hesitate to get in touch.