Following the Prime Minister’s statement at the weekend relaxing some of the ‘lockdown’ restrictions, East Devon District Council have undertaken a review to see whether it would be possible to re-open any of its toilets across the district.
From Wednesday 13 May 2020 people in England have been able to spend more time outdoors and enjoy a wider range of activities for any length of time, subject to social distancing rules.
The new guidance from the Government requires an enhanced cleaning regime to be implemented and the council feels it should take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of viral transmission whilst enabling the public to observe social distancing rules when using its facilities.
After a comprehensive review including site specific risk assessments it has been agreed the council will open 10 of the 26 toilets. The remaining toilets can’t be reopened at this time due to resource, building design and budget limitations.
Subject to the completion of a risk assessment being carried out for each toilet and the sourcing of additional hand sanitisers it is hoped the 10 accessible public toilets will re-open by Friday 22 May. This timescale is subject to the delivery of the hand sanitisers.
When the toilets have reopened they will be fully cleaned 3 times a day. This is an increase from the previous frequency of 1 full clean a day with re-stock visits. Virucidal cleaners will be used, and the facilities will be closed periodically for additional disinfecting periodically.
The public toilets to re-open are:
1) West Street Car Park, Axminster
2) East End (Lime Kiln), Budleigh Salterton
3) Jubilee Gardens, Beer
4) Foxholes Car Park, Exmouth
5) Manor Gardens, Exmouth
6) Queens Drive/Old Lifeboat, Exmouth
7) King Street, Honiton
8) West Walk, Seaton
9) Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth
10) Triangle, Sidmouth
All other public toilets are to remain closed at this time.
The toilets will be open from 7.30am to 4pm to make allowances for the staff, budget restrictions and the enhanced cleaning required.
“Longer term solutions involving alterations to buildings to allow easy access, minimise touch points and provide a more Covid-19 secure environment are being investigated which hopefully can include longer opening hours” Cllr Geoff Jung, Environment portfolio holder for East Devon District Council, said.
“We are pleased to be able to re-open some toilets. We recognise the limited number may be inconvenient for some, but we feel it is important to take steps to reduce risks and improve hygiene, which means we cannot open more at this time.”
“Our Streetscene staff will be working hard to get these toilets open for the bank holiday weekend and we thank members of the public for their patience whilst we prepare them for reopening.”
“We cannot assure people that the facilities will pose no risk of infection, so I would urge members of the public to remain vigilant, and rigorously adhere to hand washing, hygiene and social distancing rules.”