Will toilets reopen in shopping centres when non-essential shops open?

Friday, 12th June 2020, 4:16 pm
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 4:17 pm
Many high street shops and shopping centres are preparing to reopen their doors in England from 15 June (Photo: Shutterstock)

Many high street shops and shopping centres are preparing to reopen their doors in England from 15 June.

But as people head back out for a day of shopping, and with social distancing measures in place, will customers be able to use public toilets?

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Here’s what you need to know.

Will toilets reopen in shopping centres?

As shopping centres are set to fully reopen their shops, some will open toilets to the public as well, whereas some will keep them closed.

In Fishergate Shopping Centre, Preston, public toilets will be closed for the foreseeable future, “until we can ensure the safety of our shoppers using these facilities,” explains the website.

Hand sanitiser stations will also be located at each entrance to the centre and at other locations, including car park payment stations.

Centre:mk, located in Milton Keynes, will be reopening on 15 June, with stores such as Primark, M&S and John Lewis set to open their doors to the public.

Toilets and guest services will be open, but customers are being asked to check centremk.com for full details of the guest services available, how to book mobility scooters and for regular updates.

However, the parent and child facilities will be available with an enhanced level of cleaning, and disabled facilities will remain open accessible with a RADAR key.

In Leeds some, but not all, public toilets will be open in the city, while all council-managed car parks will be free to use until at least Saturday, July 4.

Leeds.gov.uk said, “From June 15, a significant number of retailers across the city centre are expected to be open including those in Trinity Leeds, Victoria Gate, Victoria Quarter, Merrion Centre, and St Johns Centre.

“Whilst a number of shops will be open straight away from Monday, more are expected to follow in the coming weeks.”

What’s the official guidance on using public toilets?

Rules around using public toilets vary depending on which part of the country you’re in, and there is currently no nationwide coordinated approach.

In regards to the opening of public toilets, Government guidance explains, “Councils are responsible for public toilets and this decision is up to them.”

However, the guidance says you “should avoid using the public toilet where possible,” but “If you need to use any of these facilities, you should practise social distancing and good hygiene (i.e. washing your hands thoroughly).”

A statement from the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government also said: “While decisions to reopen public toilets are for councils, we strongly encourage them to open wherever possible.

“We’ve published guidance to help them ensure facilities are safe where they are open including increasing cleaning of touch points.”