Here are the Isle of Wight towns keeping public toilets closed to avoid any ‘unnecessary risk’

There is no specific guidance from the Government so town councils on the Isle of Wight have taken their own decisions on whether to keep public toilets closed or open. More details within

desperate for the toilet sign

Despite pleas to reopen public toilets now lockdown restrictions are easing, some councils have decided to keep them shut to avoid any ‘unnecessary risk’.

Some areas of the Island have had no access to public toilets since the start of lockdown, as a way to prevent the spread of the virus.

IWC: No specific government guidance
An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said the decision to open a public toilet would rest with individual councils.

They said,

“There is not currently any specific government guidance, but we would suggest a common-sense approach should be taken.

“There is nothing in the current regulations requiring toilets to be shut. Those responsible for managing toilet blocks would need to undertake a risk assessment for any staff cleaning or supporting this facility.

“Infection control for users and the potential spread of Covid-19 should also be considered.”

Across the Island, some councils have decided to open the stall doors.

After ‘extensive consideration’, Sandown Town Council decided to open public toilets at Yaverland, Eastern Gardens and St John’s last weekend, but only from 9am to 6pm.

Deep cleans were undertaken, signage and guidance provided, with distancing markers and hand sanitising stations part of the arrangements to re-opening.

PPE for Cowes toilet cleaners
Cowes Town Council, however, opened public toilets from 13th May, when unlimited exercise was allowed and requests for them to open started coming in.

A spokesperson for the town council said the cleaners had personal protective equipment to protect themselves and extra effort was made to sanitise all contact surfaces. They said,

“These are public facilities and users must take ‘personal responsibility’ and use common sense when using a communal facility: maintain social distancing and wash your hands thoroughly on exiting the premises.”

Councils under fire
However, not all have councils have chosen this approach.

Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council has recently come under fire for not opening any conveniences in the town centre, leaving people who need a quick comfort break with the only option of supermarkets available.

In a local bulletin, a representative of the community council said the decision to ‘close and keep closed’ the toilets had been met with complaints from those who disagreed.

East Cowes
East Cowes Town Council has also said their decision was based on the duty of care they have to the staff and community considering reopening the toilets and unnecessary risk, but will be reviewing it on a regular basis.

Ryde Town Council has kept the majority of toilets closed but easy access facilities are open for Radar key holders although hope to open the general facilities soon having undertaken risk assessments and addressing the issues.

Until restrictions are lifted, or councillors agree otherwise, public toilets in Yarmouth will remain shut.

Shanklin Town Council are ‘deciding very soon’ whether to reopen the toilets when non-essential shops do on 15th June, with measures in place so they are safe for staff and residents and have asked people to ‘respect that’.

Ventnor Town Council made the decision to close their toilets based on a detailed risk assessment.

They will remain closed until further notice.

This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: Class V under CC BY 2.0

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10 Comments on "Here are the Isle of Wight towns keeping public toilets closed to avoid any ‘unnecessary risk’"

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Geoff Brodie

County Hall hypocrisy as usual. A ‘common sense approach’ by County Hall would have been not to abandon public toilets like they did in Mr Pugh’s day back in 2012. And not to have left them in such a poor state for local councils to have to deal with.


So where do they think people are releasing themselves?
When I went to Ryde front last week, people were buying pints of beer along the front.
What goes in must come out.


Only yesterday the story about Ventnor beach cleaning (which should be provided by the council – but another debate !) stated that Don had found a child’s bucket with human poo in it – in the children’s paddling pool ! This is only one example of what will be going on


The Ryde disabled toilets are padlocked so you can’t use the radar key so they are not usable

Well done, Louise Hill for researching this. It is high time we had this debate. What a ridiculous situation to find ourselves in – we’ve been allowed out further afield for walks and to sit on park benches for the past two weeks, yet hardly any public toilets on the Island have been open. And they still aren’t in a Bank Holiday week. This afternoon the car… Read more »

Toilets used to be called Public Conveniences for precisely that reason. If they want people p***ing + all over the place, and the accompanying stink, then carry on leaving them shut or closed down.

I heard a while ago, on a radio 4 programme about the coronavirus, an expert talking about how they were analysing sewage for traces of the virus so that they could work out whereabouts the infection was coming from. Without the UK having testing and contact tracing in place, this was the best they could do. So I am wondering – if people have to resort to… Read more »

There is no getting away from it, toilets, be they public, in pubs, restaurants or cafes are high risk infection environments, so will they be disinfected after each person?


Particularly as councils’ experience was that, when they were open, people weren’t willing to risk touching the flush handle, creating blockages and further risk to the cleaners.

Steve Goodman

The risk can be reduced.

Avoid touching surfaces with your bare hands – especially door handles on entry and exit, seat lids, flush controls, and taps; instead, as appropriate, use elbows, and tissue which can be disposed of in the bowl.

The (still too often ignored) advice to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds has always been sound.