East Devon starts to reopen public toilets

FOLLOWING the government’s easing of lockdown restrictions, East Devon District Council is starting to reopen some of public toilet facilities. 

After a comprehensive review including site specific risk assessments, the council has agreed to open 10 of its 26 toilets. The remaining toilets will remain closed due to resource, building design and budget limitations.

The new guidance from the government requires an enhanced cleaning regime to be implemented and the council will take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of viral transmission whilst enabling the public to observe social distancing rules when using its facilities.

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, May 22. This timescale is subject to the delivery of the hand sanitisers.

These will include the following facilities:

  • West Street Car Park, Axminster
  • East End (Lime Kiln), Budleigh Salterton
  • Jubilee Gardens, Beer
  • Foxholes Car Park, Exmouth
  • Manor Gardens, Exmouth
  • Queens Drive/Old Lifeboat, Exmouth
  • King Street, Honiton
  • West Walk, Seaton
  • Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth
  • Triangle, Sidmouth

When the toilets have reopened they will be fully cleaned three times a day. This is an increase from the previous frequency of one full clean a day with re-stock visits. Virucidal cleaners will be used, and the facilities will be closed periodically for additional disinfecting.

The toilets will be open from 7.30am to 4pm to make allowances for the staff, budget restrictions and the enhanced cleaning required.

Cllr Geoff Jung, environment portfolio holder for East Devon District Council, said: “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.

“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.”

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