Four public toilets in Thanet expected to be reopened this weekend

Nayland toilets

Public toilets at Ramsgate (by Wetherspoon), Viking Bay (Harbour Street), Joss Bay and Margate (Nayland) will be reopened by Thanet council this weekend (May 23).

The toilets, which have been shut since March 25 in line with government coronavirus protection guidance, are likely to be available from 10am until 5pm.

The council says more public loos across the isle could follow depending on resources.

The toilets will be manned by operatives wearing PPE and there will be an increase in cleaning, meaning they may have to close at times during the day for a 20 mnute period.

All toilet cubicles will be unisex with urinals closed because of the rules on social distancing,

Signs will ask people to use the toilets on a one in/one out system.

The plans are subject to change if deemed necessary.

Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services said: “Following the shift in the Government’s lockdown restrictions to allow people to spend more time outside, we have been working to find a safe solution for the reopening of some of our public toilets.

“We recognise that people are choosing to make the most of the new guidelines but we want to reiterate that they must do so safely and respectfully. At the beaches where there aren’t any open toilets, using the surrounding area is totally unacceptable. We are doing all we can to offer some provision on our main beaches initially and ask that people plan ahead.

Photo Carl Hudson

“Where toilets are open, there will be a number of measures in place to provide a clean and safe environment for people using them. They will be signposted with information on maintaining social distancing, a request to keep cubicles clean and hand washing instructions.

“We will be relying on members of the public to respect the space and to act in a responsible way so that everyone who needs to use the facilities is able to do so as safely as possible.

“The toilets will be cleaned by council staff regularly throughout the day and will be closed while cleaning takes place.

“If members of the public are abusive to our staff, use offensive language or fail to respect the social distancing guidelines when interacting with them, the crew will close the facilities. Being abused by the public isn’t part of the job.

“As well as using the toilets provided, we also want to remind beachgoers that they must take their litter off the beach to a bin, or if the bin is full home. While people were required to stay at home during lockdown, the volume of litter on the beaches was close to zero. It is deeply disappointing that after just a few days of additional freedoms people are dumping rubbish on the beach where it will end up in the sea.

Sonia Hammond and her 8-year-old cleared rubbish left behind on the beach by visitors

“As always, these are the actions of a small minority of people. We appreciate that the vast majority of our residents and visitors do respect the rules and behave in a way that helps to protect our beautiful coastline.”

However, some Birchington and Westgate residents are angry that their beaches are packed with no toilets open. One said: “People are going to toilet behind beach huts, in the grass, up walls, anywhere they can. The risk to public health in this hot weather is huge.”

Yesterday hundreds of people flocked to beaches on the isle despite there being no facilities open. There followed complaints of people urinating and defecating in public

Thanet mum Sonia Hammond said the mess left behind was ‘disgusting’ and that she and her eight-year-old cleaned up three sacks of rubbish.