Will you be able to find a public toilet if you go out for exercise at the weekend?
Fine weather and a relaxation of some lockdown rules is expected to tempt some people to go out for a family trip to the coast or countryside this weekend – but what facilities will they find when they get there?
In particular, will they find themselves inconvenienced on their trip out – and will they have to make a hasty trip home, because there are no public toilets open?
The situation varies from district to district so far as council-run public toilets are concerned – and there are also fewer public toilets open in commercial premises than usual.
Most public toilets run by East Suffolk Council have remained open during the lockdown and will continue to operate over the weekend.
A spokesman for the council said it was urging to people to observe good hygiene and social distancing rules when using them – and it was up to them whether they chose to do so. But they would remain open for people who did come to the area.
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However, many other facilities that people might want to use, like cafes and kiosks, would remain closed.
Down the coast at Tendring in Essex, including Clacton, Frinton and Dovercourt, public toilets are closed even though council-owned car parks will be open. The council is looking at ways of reopening public toilets safely as soon as possible – but they will remain closed this weekend.
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In Ipswich, Mid Suffolk and Babergh districts, all council-run public toilets remain closed. A spokesman for Ipswich council said: “We need to look very hard at what safety measures would be necessary before these are reopened.”
In West Suffolk some public toilets are closed but those in areas where people have continued to exercise have remained open. They are: Nowton Park, Abbey Gardens, West Stow Country Park, Brandon Country Park and Hardwick Heath.
The remaining public toilets were closed on police advice and the council is looking at bringing them back into use as part of supporting the town centres.
People using public toilets that are open are urged to take hygiene precautions and ensure social distancing – trying to ensure that they do not come into contact with other people using the facilities.