When you gotta go…
As we continue to open the economy, one of the important remaining conundrums is, how to safely open the public washrooms?
During this pandemic, we’ve all been caught with our pants up. No mater how carefully we dehydrate before leaving the house to run errands, there is always someone who finds themselves having to go. Men have the luxury of pulling over on a country road to relieve themselves. Women have the option too, but in a much less luxurious manner. The reality is, when you gotta go, you gotta go.
Keeping the public washrooms closed has been an excellent way of deterring visitors, but as we gain confidence and welcome them back, we must figure out a way to open public washrooms. There are two public washrooms in Creemore: one at Gowan Park and one at Station on the Green. Obviously, they are not just for tourists. Locals rely on them, too.
Without access to public washrooms, people are asking retailers for access to their facilities. (You think policing face coverings is hard for shopkeepers? Try looking into the eyes of someone who has been ‘holding it’ for an hour and deny them access to your toilet.)
Sure, they now have an option to go to a café and buy a coffee in order to use the washroom, but then you are in a pee loop.
In other places, where the washrooms are already open, people seem to be observing the rules. They respect the limit of how many people may enter at once. In some provincial parks, only two people are allowed in at once, masks on. That way people are able to maintain a distance and behave responsibly.
The province’s Framework for Reopening Our Province is a little light on direction on how to safely open public washrooms, using loosey-goosey language like, “ensure that any washrooms open for use are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary environment.”
Public Health Ontario says, commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19 and, in addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty.
How we achieve this is another conundrum. We suggest the municipality take on the additional costs associated with more rigid cleaning protocols for all public facilities. It is the only way that it can be done consistently and safely across the board for all township facilities, both volunteer-run and staff-run.