Twenty-one public toilets, plus six portable loos, are now open across Thanet.
The facilities were shut in March after the government ‘lockdown’ was put in place in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Those restrictions began to ease in May with people told they could travel and remain outdoors for as long as they liked.
The move resulted in huge crowds on Thanet beaches followed by complaints of people urinating and defecating in public because of the lack of toilet facilities.
Thanet council reopened toilets at Ramsgate (by Wetherspoon), Viking Bay (Harbour Street), Joss Bay and Margate (Nayland) on May 23 followed by Minnis Bay; West Bay; Westbrook Bay; St Mildred’s Bay; Botany Bay; Stone Bay and Dumpton Gap on May 30.
The clock tower toilets in Marine Drive remain closed due to repairs needed on the structural condition of the building.
This week, to coincide with the reopening of many shops and businesses on June 15, toilets reopened at Alpha Road Birchington; Cavendish Street – Ramsgate; Clock Tower – Broadstairs including (bandstand); College Walk, Margate; Crofts Place – Broadstairs; Harbour Arm – Margate; Harold Road – Cliftonville; Station Road – Westgate; The Centre – Margate and Viking Bay Chalet block – Broadstairs, .
Six single portable cubicles toilets and one accessible cubicle near Margate Clocktower have also been put in place.
A Thanet council spokesperson said: “These are cleaned regularly and, as with our other public toilets, we have installed social distancing signage. These toilets are a temporary measure in response to the high number of beach users at Margate. We are not planning to install portable cubicle toilets in other areas.”
Thanet council has issued a warning that the facilities will be closed if staff cleaning the sites encounter abusive behaviour.
Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services said: “We have put in place a number of measures to provide a clean and safe environment for people using them. Hand sanitiser is provided and there are posters with information about maintaining social distancing, keeping cubicles clean and hand washing. We urge people not to use the facilities as a changing room as sand blocks the toilets.
“We are relying on members of the public to respect the space and to act in a responsible manner – leaving them as they would expect to find them. Our staff in the toilets are cleaners and are not there to manage or enforce social distancing.
“It is a tough job, particularly in the current circumstances, and it is absolutely unacceptable to be abusive or rude to those members of staff. If this continues to happen, we will be left with no choice but to close the facilities.”
Independent councillor Ruth Bailey has suggested to officers that open signs on all toilets, with details of times and where other available facilities are, could also be useful.
TDC only got the 6 portable loos at Margate because Wetherspoons is shut – TDC’s unofficial public toilet.
What they have chosen not to say in their press release is that the opening times are much shorter than previous years. So, if you are out and about before 9 or after 5 a lot will be shut.