Public Lavatories: Coronavirus

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 5th June 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Greengross Baroness Greengross Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that public toilets reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Lord Greenhalgh Lord Greenhalgh Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), The Minister of State, Home Department

The government has published guidance (attached) on safer public spaces. It includes advice, information and examples of the potential interventions that can be used in public places to facilitate social distancing in areas of higher footfall such as in parks (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safer-public-places-urban-centres-and-green-spaces-covid-19). Owners and operators are advised to implement cleaning protocols to limit coronavirus transmission in public places. It is advised that touch points (e.g. handrails and gates) should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.

To help everyone maintain good hygiene, consideration should be given to: configuration of toilet facilities to ensure they are kept clean, with social distancing achieved as far as possible and with best practice handwashing followed; where possible, providing hand towels as an alternative to hand dryers in handwashing facilities; signs at public toilets for queuing, social distancing and automatic sanitising; using signs and messages to build awareness of good handwashing technique and other respiratory hygiene behaviours, e.g. around coughing and sneezing in public places; where possible, providing hand towels as an alternative to hand dryers in handwashing facilities; and queue marking indicators at main entrance, popular park destinations and toilets.

We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities through an unringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package recognises the additional costs and pressures on finances councils are facing as a result of the current crisis. It demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making sure councils, including upper and lower tier authorities, have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time.

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