With the UK government announcing the easing of some of the lockdown restrictions, it is still important to be aware that the risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus.

Taking this information into account, we have taken the decision that public toilets across Torbay, including disabled toilets, will remain closed for now while we work with our contractor, Healthmatic, to determine a safe way to reopen some of these facilities.

Public Health England (PHE) recommends trying to keep two metres away from people as a precaution, to reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the number of people you come into close contact with.

The reopening of public toilet facilities could lead to people congregating and waiting at entry and handwashing points, and not being able to adhere to the social distancing guidance. We, therefore, need to agree on a suitable risk assessment with our contractor to ensure the safety of the public and cleaning staff.

Government guidance indicates that small enclosed spaces with little or no ventilation (such as public toilets) mean additional cleaning protocols would need to be implemented, particularly of touchpoints such as door handles, barriers and flushes to prevent the spread of the virus. We are therefore considering different ways to mitigate against these risks so that we can reopen some of our toilets in the near future. In the meantime, it is advisable that people take hand sanitiser with them when they are exercising outdoors so that they can continue to wash their hands in line with government guidance.

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said “Our priority is the ongoing safety and welfare of our residents in terms of limiting the spread of the infection. We understand that with the lifting of the restrictions with regards to leaving home, people will want to spend more time outside enjoying the places they have not been able to visit for many weeks.

Spending more time away from home may require the use of public toilets facilities, and whilst many people want to see these facilities re-opened we need to consult with our contractor to identify some safe solutions. Our limited resources are still very much focused on supporting those in our communities that are most vulnerable.”

Government guidance is still to; stay at home as much as possible, work from home if you can, limit contact with other people, keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible) and wash your hands regularly. Read the new government guidance on spending time outdoors.


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