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Checkers Blog

Why are you scared of public bathrooms? It’s obvious.

People in the United States aren’t leaving their homes as often as they did pre-COVID. When they do venture out into the world, more are “holding it” until they get home. More people are actually planning their ventures around their bathroom breaks so they won’t need to visit a public restroom. According to a recent survey of 1,000 Americans in September of 2020, revelations have come to light regarding how American adults view public bathrooms.

The holidays are approaching, and families and individuals are getting ready to travel across the nation to see people they haven’t seen since the last holiday season. Up ahead on the freeway – a mile marker designating the next exit. Bathroom relief ahead – but everyone else is stopping, too.

These bathroom breaks are inevitable on road trips. But the majority of gas station and rest area bathrooms are usually small and not properly ventilated spaces. Experts in public health have been sounding the alarms since the spring regarding these types of spaces. It’s precisely these environments responsible for coronavirus transmission.

If you’ve wondered about the safety of traveling, stopping to fuel up, or dining out, you’re not alone. People are especially concerned about public restroom cleanliness. According to the survey by Engine Insights mentioned above:

  • 998 people out of the 1,000 surveyed believe cleanliness in public bathrooms is important
  • 420 people stopped using public restrooms as often they had pre-pandemic
  • 333 respondents stated they’d left a public bathroom without using it due to its cleanliness
  • 360 stated their recent shopping trips have been shorter to avoid the need for a public restroom
  • 90 of the 1000 respondents bring a portable toilet on trips to avoid public restroom use
  • 120 have (or know someone who has) urinated outdoors in lieu of a public toilet
  • 150 held their breath while using public restroom facilities

Implementing stricter cleaning protocols, as well as visible documentation of cleaning schedules, can go far to put the minds of consumers at ease when visiting your establishment.

Recent Findings

In June 2020, scientists first illustrated how flushing a toilet sends aerosolized droplets pluming into the air – as far as three feet. The scientists stated the effect is much like a sneeze in the way droplets are forcefully expelled and at great distances.

As studies continued, traces of COVID-19 were found in urine and fecal matter of COVID-positive patients. More studies need to be done to be sure, but it’s generally accepted as of now that finding coronavirus genetic material in human feces or urine doesn’t necessarily mean the fecal matter has the ability to infect. The CDC echoes this sentiment in a recent report.

We’re headed into the busiest road trip and shopping season of the year. Understanding what you can do in your organization to help both employees and customers feel safer is crucial.

Final Thoughts

You can do your part to mitigate public restroom risk in your business by addressing the above. As more states reopen and guidelines are relaxed, people will begin traveling again. Before COVID-19, the overall view of a public restroom was one of a germ haven – this feeling has only been exacerbated by the current health crisis. Masks, crowd avoidance, and carrying hand sanitizer is the new normal. So, how can you do your part?

Remember the science:

  • COVID-19 is primarily shared via aerosolized, respiratory droplets
  • Wear masks in any instance in which social distancing isn’t possible, both indoors and outdoors – and especially within public restrooms
  • Remind yourself and others that handwashing at regular intervals – especially after using the restroom – can significantly slow the spread

Checkers Cleaning Supply offers various touch-free and space-saving options for your office, retail, and restroom spaces. Designed for social distancing and the need for hands-free items, our catalog showcases products to help you keep your employees and customers safe, healthy, and germ-free.