PUBLIC urinals could be a thing of the past in a post-Covid society, industry leaders have said.
As lockdown restrictions are eased, the British Toilet Association’s managing director Raymond Martin has been advising councils and companies on how to keep washrooms clean and safe amid a global pandemic.
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Mr Martin said potential solutions range from foot-operated flushes and self-closing seats to sensor-activated taps and soap dispensers.
However one of the most substantial proposed changes is the elimination of separate toilets for men and women.
Instead, one-way gender-neutral facilities could see men and women queuing at one door and exiting on the other side with individual cubicles in between.
Mr Martin told The Sunday Times he is calling on the Government to invest in revolutionising the nation’s washrooms as a matter of “public health”.
“Toilets have a massive commercial effect on an area, which is why they are one of the first things you plan in any new shopping centre,” he said.
“It’s going to cost a lot of money, but if we want to get back outdoors, to socialise, to go to parks and beaches, then the Government has to step in.
“We want to bring back life to this country, and toilets are a vital part of that.”
The comments come after a senior government advisor said earlier this month ministers should force councils to reopen public toilets on Monday.
Professor Robert Dingwall, who is part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group said the government should stop “terrorising” those who visit public spaces.
The sociologist at Nottingham Trent University said the risk outdoors was “minimal” and the public did not need to feel anxious.
Professor Dingwall told the Telegraph: “The Government needs to be more proactive and order councils to open lavatories and car parks.
“The ‘stay away’ messages coming from a lot of these areas (seaside resorts and beauty spots) has fed back to the public who are wondering what they can do.
“I can see a lot of people thinking, ‘is this worth it?’. Then there are the general levels of fear and anxiety.
“People are worried they won’t be safe despite growing evidence that has not been well communicated that there is minimal risk.
“The Government has been terrorising the population, instilling a state of terror.”
Many ‘non-essential’ shops and other businesses will be allowed to reopen on June 1.
A recent poll found that the majority of Brits wanted to remain under lockdown because they fear it is being lifted too quickly and have more money because of the pandemic.
The Daily Mail poll found overall, 53 percent said they thought the lockdown was being lifted too fast, compared to just 11 percent who thought it was too slow.
Thirty percent of people thought the pace was about right.
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