Thanet council will reopen some public toilets this month – while isle MP urges visitors to stay away

Public toilets

Some public toilets in Thanet will be reopened from May 23-24, although the council has not yet released details of which facilities will come back into use.

Toilets were closed on March 25 following the introduction of restrictions on public life in a bid to flatten the spread of coronavirus.

But restrictions were eased this week with the  PM outlining a covid alert system.


The system runs from level one – no covid cases in the UK – to level five – critical risk. Boris Johnson said: “Our period of lockdown has been in level four. We are now in a position to move in steps to level 3.”

Outlining the easing proposals – which will be dependent on the rate of infection and number of hospital admissions in the country – the PM said the current R level is between 0.5-0.9. It needs to be below one for any restrictions to be lifted.

The easing included this week’s instruction that people who cannot work at home were  actively encouraged to go back to work, including those in construction and manufacturing and, from yesterday, people being told they could enjoy unlimited exercise with the PM saying people can “sit in the sun, drive to other destinations, play sports with members of your own household.”

This announcement raised concerns of an influx of visitors coming to isle beaches, as well as increased numbers of residents. Among the many issues this raised was the lack of toilet facilities.

Guidance from government yesterday (May 13) says public places, such as toilets, should have

  • sufficient provision of automated hand sanitising dispensers in public places
  • where possible, providing hand towels as an alternative to hand dryers in handwashing facilities.
  • using signs and messages to build awareness of good handwashing technique and other respiratory hygiene behaviours, e.g. around coughing and sneezing in public places
  • configuration of toilet facilities to ensure they are kept clean, with social distancing achieved as far as possible and with best practice handwashing followed
  • minimising use of portable toilets
  • enhanced cleaning for facilities that are heavily used

Thanet council says the guidance ” is helpful and will inform our plans to open some of these facilities from next weekend (23/24 May).”

Thanet council leader Cllr Rick Everitt said: “The change in Government guidance means that more people are likely to be out enjoying Thanet’s parks, open spaces and beaches.

“Whilst the Government has said that people can visit open spaces, it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly. To help stop the spread of COVID-19, we must  all follow the national guidance by staying two metres away from those not in their household.

“We also need residents and visitors using these public places to be aware that there will not be the usual access to amenities. We have been looking at how we can re-open public toilets and ensure public safety. Our toilets are currently closed but the government guidance issued yesterday is helpful and will inform our plans to open some of these facilities from next weekend (23/24 May).

“We will continue to review the Government guidance as this evolves and ensure that people are kept informed. As part of this, signage will be displayed in key locations around our coast.”

Thanet council  officers are working on specific solutions for individual facilities, starting with the main beaches,

In response to the relaxing of travel restrictions, North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale has issued a plea for people not to come to Thanet beaches, saying the unlimited travel advice is ‘sheer folly’.

Speaking from his `isolation office` the veteran MP has said: “I have spent 37 years in Parliament promoting the joys of Margate and Herne Bay in my constituency and it breaks my heart to have to say, for the moment, “Please don`t come to the seaside: we`re still shut”.

“I have dozens of small businesses facing huge losses and wanting desperately to open up and start earning a living again but if we take the shutters down too soon we could lose an entire season for the sake of another few weeks.

“Last bank holiday weekend saw hundreds of people, even before the Prime Minister had spoken on Sunday, driving down to Herne Bay and to Margate from London.  I am told that `social distancing` went out of the window and the car parks were heaving. I am really concerned that some of the London media has been actively encouraging people to head for the coast again this weekend  and I think that is irresponsible.

“I believe that the “drive to wherever you want to take exercise” advice from the Government is premature and possibly sheer folly.  I want the seaside towns that I represent to be able to welcome people with open arms again – as we have always done in the past – but we need to take baby steps towards re-opening, not a leap in the dark.

“Get this wrong and we could be worse than right back when we started. Get it right and we could be back in business in time for the real summer holidays.”


  1. Why oh why are we opening the loos.
    We don’t need even more people coming to the beaches.
    Last Saturday the beach at Walpole Bay was full with people have bbqs drinking swimming etc . With Cliftonville West being one of the worsted affected places in Kent due to people not sticking to the rules PLEASE DONT ENCOURGE MORE IDIOTS TO COME HERE

  2. The problem with all the people coming from London is they wont see or care about any potential spread in the Thanet community. Surely time for a police checkpoint on people coming in?

    • Why do you think people are coming from London?
      And why shouldn’t they? Our wonderful PM, in his wisdom, has said it’s perfectly ok to travel as far as you like for recreational purposes.

  3. Its not only people coming from London but the people who live in cliftonville from Surrey Road towards Margate they gather in groups last week my husband and I saw people getting out of a mini bus and another lot then getting in this was by St Paul’s church. I contacted the Police but they said they couldn’t really do anything which must be why there are always people in groups round the Lido area we have seen the police drive passed them.

  4. I can’t believe I’m actually nodding in agreement with Sir Roger. The weather forecast for this weekend is looking good and now Boris the impaler has given the green light we’ll get hundreds of our South London population head for our beaches. Social distancing…that’s a joke some of these groups can be families of up to 15 and the people in Botany Road and Percy avenue will be swamped by the cars, mini buses all potentially bringing this virus with them. Come on Sir Roger and Mr. Mackinlay do what your paid for… represent your constituents NOW and make sure we aren’t put at this unreasonable risk.!

  5. Liz do not be fobbed off by Thanet Police inaction with regard to any LAW ENFORCEMENT in Thanet which Kent Police including Thanet with MARGATE POLICE STATION right in the centre of where many of the lockdown law breakers are within walking distance, even by their foot patrol standards. As for so many driving in and out countless times not on blues & 2’s but ON DUTY and as such their obligations are to protect and uphold ALL U.K. LAWS whether or not they happen to like the current P.M. B.J. Vigilance is yet another Police issue especially when Police ask us to be vigilant and report any concerns to Police.Try a few 999 calls which are all followed up rather than wait for up to or even over an hour for non urgent reports, bearing in mind that their failures to turn up to crime scenes is LEGALLY ENFORCEABLE as I have done when Thanet Police fail to even log some reported crimes so that they fudge the clear up figures. Other Police Forces and especially Military Police have better response and clear up rates. Write directly to Chief Constable of Kent Police as it appears that T.D.C. elected staff suffer the same inaction so pls now act on it.

  6. Let’s not get carried away by fear. The biggest killer with this virus appears to be people’s existing health conditions. The key ways to stay healthy and have a good immune system are surely a clean environment, a healthy diet with unprocessed food, exercise, a positive mind set, good community connections, staying away from main stream media spin and being out in the wide open spaces of Thanet with all the benefits of our wonderful coastline. We also have the great I Windmill Community Gardens providing chemical free fruit and veg. I have no problem with sharing this coast line with visitors and helping save our small businesses. Let’s be objective here. The biggest killer is fear itself. And sadly some old people will die as we all do. I was glad to see my own mother go quickly and we also have to make peace with the idea of death itself.


  8. Democrat, there are no businesses open to share with our visitors so the only thing they could bring at the moment is the mess and rubbish not to mention the possibility of spreading the virus. You are so lucky to live in a world where everything is beautiful and fluffy. Unfortunately most of us live in what is known as the real world. Still keeping dreaming my friend, hope you never have to visit planet earth. Stay safe.

    • Shops were open in Westbrook yesterday. Part of the Old Kent Market was etc. etc. I live in the real world and it seems to be a much more pleasant one than yours sadly. And ‘stay safe’ actually tells your sub conscious that you are not safe! Fear lowers the immune system. Negativity kills. Quite a few own goals…

  9. On my daily run today I ended up near the train station, and needed a piss – no public toilets open anywhere, so I had to urinate in an alleyway. Obviously not a great thing to do, but then neither would pissing myself on the 30 minute trip back home. Public toilets aren’t just for tourists! They’re a public service paid for by our council tax.

    • Agree Bob, public toilets are actually a human right and we all pay in terms of both taxes and council tax.

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