As restaurants and other service businesses begin to open after the world outbreak of COVID, many of us are unsure if we should use the bathrooms at these establishments. The advice has been conflicting – some experts have even said it’s safer to avoid it, if you can. But we here at the Portland Loo know that public bathrooms are crucial to helping fight germs and the threat of illness! Access to a toilet keeps waste contained, and less likely to spread disease from person to person. The CDC has also echoed this, encouraging parks and recreational facilities to keep their bathrooms open and clean. But, if you’re out and about and find yourself needing to use a public loo, here are some things you can do to keep you extra safe from COVID during this time:
Wear a Mask
In Oregon, and many other US states, the guidelines are to require that you wear a mask to the public bathroom. This might seem silly – especially if the establishment is letting you take it off while you’re enjoying a meal. However, the reason for this requirement is that bathrooms are much closer quarters and the spread of COVID is much more likely when within 6 feet of another person. The masks will help decrease the risk in such instances where it’s more difficult to avoid close proximity. And, most public restrooms don’t have windows, so the air circulation isn’t as good. That’s another good reason to use The Portland Loo when you gotta go – because of the grating around the top and bottom, they have much better ventilation than many other public restrooms.
Flush With Seat Lid Down
Multiple studies show that when you flush, aerosolized germs get released into the air – and you can breathe them in and they settle on toilet paper, towels, and handles. So if the toilet does have a lid, make sure to it them down before flushing to keep the air particles clean. A similar effect has been shown to happen with hot air dryers, so using a towel to dry your hands will be more hygienic.
Use Sanitary Wipes
Right now, it’s actually a great idea to carry sanitizing wipes, and use them to wipe down door knobs, faucet handles, and flush levers. These are the spots in the bathroom (and anywhere really!) where germs are more likely to collect. If you don’t have a wipe, then use clean paper towel or tissue rather than your bare hands to flush or turn on the faucet. The Portland Loo’s sink is located on the outside of the restroom, so luckily you won’t have to touch a handle after you wash your hands.
Stay Away From Crowded Bathrooms
If there’s a ton of people crowded into the bathroom, wait if possible for it to thin out before you use it. You’ll reduce risk of getting too close, as well as inhaling any aerosolized particles from others. But if you must go, and if there’s a line of people waiting outside to use it, make sure you continue to wear your mask and keep 6 feet from others in line with you.
Avoid Dirty Bathrooms
It’s up to the establishment to make sure that the restroom stays clean and sanitary, which is even more crucial as we’re emerging from the COVID outbreak. If you don’t feel like the facility is up to standards then find another public restroom if you can! Luckily the steel walls of the Portland Loo makes it easy for us to keep clean. But no matter what condition the public bathroom is in, we recommend you get in and out as quickly as possible – this will decrease exposure to risk for you and also allow somebody else to use it with less exposure too.
As always, the best thing you can do is simply wash your hands – so take your time to really lather up and get inside the palm and top of your hands and fingers good and clean. And stay home if you’re not feeling good! If your city, park, transit station, or other organization is looking for a good clean public bathroom solution, contact us for more details and pricing.