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I was delighted to receive a detailed response to last week’s leader (concerning conflicting advice on safe behaviour in public toilets) from renowned toilet expert Susan Cunningham, whom I met whilst serving on the inaugural Council of the British Toilet Association more than 20 years ago.
Susan, like me, believes that this is all very serious and she’s gone to the trouble of producing a crib sheet which she hopes Cleanzine’s readers will add to and/or comment on, so between us we can offer a helpful source of reliable information during and after the pandemic, which can be regularly updated in the same way as our long-running Hospital Hygiene feature.
Please take the time to read her email below and think about what she says. Cleanzine would welcome the chance to provide a platform for a public toilet forum. Perhaps you feel you have a perfect way of keeping public toilet users safe and would like to share it? Or perhaps you’ve tried/seen something that didn’t work, or which worked initially but then failed for some reason or other? Please do share your news and ideas - from whichever of the 163 countries on our circulation you’re reading this from – since after all, this is a global issue.
Of real concern to me is the confession Susan received from ‘high up’ a couple of weeks back, indicating an awareness that due to lockdown relaxation, those now able to travel further afield would probably need to avail themselves of the public toilet facilities, and that the advice for us to ‘stay local’ wasn’t just down to the potential for us to encounter Coronavirus, but also because of the restrictions on facilities that are open. “These include toilets, which largely remain closed because of the issue of the current required level of cleaning and the difficulty of ensuring the public maintain social distancing," said the statement!
I understand that local authorities have since been warned that they should be prepared for visitors, but surely this should all have been planned for long ago, with strict Government guidelines on exactly what needs to be done and how. Public toilets are a necessity, not a choice. The fact that those making the decisions think that being within five miles of home negates the need for someone to use a public toilet, really doesn’t instill much confidence in the powers that be's knowledge of our behaviour and potential health issues - and indeed their expertise, does it?
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25th June 2020