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How to create a safer washroom experience when re-opening after the Coronavirus pandemic

By Jamie Woodhall, UK Technical and Innovation Manager, Initial Washroom Hygiene

Many pubs, cafes and restaurant owners have put in a lot of effort to get their business back up and running from the 4th of July. One area that needs particular attention in reopening planning is the staff and customer washrooms.

Washrooms are spaces in which social distancing could be difficult to maintain and contain many shared touchpoints and hard surfaces on which Coronavirus can survive and become vectors for transmission. But there are many practical steps businesses can take to ensure they are providing a safe washroom experience and put customers’ minds at ease.

The washroom cubicle
People expect the washroom cubicle to be a personal space, even if it is within a public facility. It also contains several shared touchpoints. We recommend providing surface disinfectant or toilet seat cleaner in every cubicle if possible to give patrons some peace of mind. We also suggest installing a toilet paper dispenser that seals away the paper so that people don’t touch the entire roll as well as providing a ‘no touch’ feminine hygiene bin with a modesty flap, so there is no need for users to touch the unit.

At the wash basin
Providing adequate handwashing and drying facilities is vital to help give customers peace of mind. To maximise control over cross contamination risks, opt for no touch soap dispensers, and hand dryers with High Efficiency HEPA filters which trap airborne microbes during filtration, helping ensure that clean air is provided. Hand sanitiser dispensers should also be installed in the washroom to provide ongoing hand protection for users after they have finished washing and drying their hands.

Shared washroom areas
Providing surface disinfectant dispensers near critical touchpoints is a key step in reducing the risk of cross contamination in shard areas. Also consider installing air steriliser units to remove potentially harmful germs from the air.

Where possible, use urinals with automatic flushes to remove the need for these communal touchpoints. Bear in mind that urinals may also breach physical distancing guidelines, and therefore some may have to be closed to maintain social distancing measures.

Outside the washroom
The area outside the washroom is an important consideration in the context of social distancing. Electronic display systems such as Initial’s Rapid>Count accurately counts how many people are in the washroom, and gives users a green or red light if it is safe to enter. This helps to eliminate queues near the washroom and it also helps identify cleaning activities and schedule reports.

For more information about how to make the washroom safer click here.

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