Are there concerns about public restrooms in a pandemic?

Are there concerns about public restrooms in a pandemic?

Friday, May 29th 2020, 6:08 PM EDT
By Annette Gutierrez, SNNtv.com

SARASOTA-MANATEE (WSNN) - First it was toilet paper hoarding. Now, as our economy and communities reopen and we consider tip-toeing back into restaurants, this issue now maybe. .What do we do if we need to go?

Even the cleanest restrooms harbor germs and bacteria, but is our new normal forcing a reassessment of using these facilities?

"COVID has definitely changed the way I approach entering any public space at this point," Bradenton resident, Elizabeth Silleck, said.

Silleck says if she has to go, she’ll just go to one without stalls.

"So I wouldn’t be sharing the space with anyone at the time that I went," Silleck said. "And I’ll just do my best to be in and out quickly.”

For others who have children, like Chicago resident, Nicole C., she doesn’t even take the risk. She says it will take her a year before she used public restrooms again.

"A year from now, I would still be cautious, I would still wear a mask, I think I became germophobic when I had my children and now I’m going to be more germ conscious," Nicole C. said.

Her protection against the crumminess for her children include porta-potties.

An Atlanta resident who’s planning to move to Sarasota, Emily Robinson, came down in February to visit her parents in Venice. She ended up stuck in Florida for about two months. She finally drove back to Georgia around the third week of May.

And when you’re traveling on the road for a while, it’s only a matter of time before you have “to go”. She ended up going to Wendys, but the doors were locked.

"I went ahead through the drive-thru as I planned, and I asked them, ‘Hey, is there any way I can come and use the restroom? I’m not eating in or anything like that, I just need to use the restroom,’" Robinson said. "They said, ‘No, we’re remaining closed at this time.’”

And Robinson says after an eight-hour drive, she didn’t want to go somewhere else.

"So to have to make an extra stop because they wouldn’t let me use the restroom was not easy," Robinson said.

But other businesses resume operations with all doors open, including restroom doors.

Paradise Dermatology owner and physician, Michelle Pennie, says she understands the need for restrooms.

"Fortunately, when you go to the bathroom, you can wash your hands," Pennie said. "When you wash your hands, the best way is after you wash your hands, get your paper towel, dry it, then use that paper towel to open up the door, so you’re not recontaminating it your hands trying to get out of the bathroom.”

She says we can’t stay home forever; we have to find ways to adjust.

"So we can still live our lives, do the things we need to do, but just do it safely," Pennie said.

"You just have to mask up and do the best you can,” Robinson said.

So if you have the urge to go, the best thing to do may just be to wear your masks and keep your distance.

Written by : Dr. Michelle Pennie

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