Dales toilets to remain closed until safety can be guaranteed

Derbyshire Dales District Council's 11 public toilets will remain closed until the authority can guarantee the safety of users and cleaning staff.

Chief Executive Paul Wilson is advising anyone contemplating a visit to the Dales over the bank holiday weekend to take into account that the vast majority of local services will be unavailable due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Mr Wilson said:
"I want to stress that not reopening our public toilets at the moment is an operational, not a political, decision and one based entirely on us not yet being able to guarantee the safety of users and of our own cleaning staff.
"Unlike toilets in hospitals or supermarkets, our public toilets are in uncontrolled environments, with open access, and there is significant potential for Covid-19 transmission in areas such as toilet seats, door handles, wash basins and taps.
"We are looking at the potential of introducing queueing systems to manage crowds at peak times to ensure social distancing rules are observed, but right now we simply do not have the resources to manage the facilities to the required level of safety.
"Government guidance makes it very clear that we cannot open our play areas at the moment because of the danger of transmission of the virus and we have to take the view that public toilets pose at least as great a risk.
"So we are continuing to investigate options to reopen when it is safe to do so, but risk assessments show it isn't appropriate to reopen this weekend. When we do get to that position, we will be obliged to carry out a detailed consultation with operational staff and other stakeholders."

Mr Wilson revealed that there was no common agreement on the issue from the Dales' various town and parish councils.
"Four of the larger councils have given us their views and three want the toilets to stay closed - including Matlock Bath Parish Council - while another wants them reopened,” he said.
“It's clearly an emotive issue but safety is our primary concern and the best advice we can give to would-be visitors is please understand that the vast majority of the leisure facilities they have come to expect in the Dales, such as restaurants and pubs, are closed, so try to exercise nearer to where you live for now until we are ready to welcome you back."
Derbyshire Dales District Council

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