Coronavirus has had a huge impact on our lives, and once we are out of lockdown, those changes will continue to be felt – even down to the way we use the bathroom.
Experts are now suggesting that gender-neutral toilets could be the best way forward and urinals will be a thing of the past for men.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, the British Toilet Association’s managing director Raymond Martin explained how he had been advising councils and companies on best hygiene practice.
These new public restroom proposals include elf-closing seats, foot-controlled flushing, and new soap dispensers. The expert also suggested more drastic measures could be imposed the post-pandemic world.
Rather than using separate facilities, Mr Martin proposed introducing a one-way, gender neutral toilet, which would see men and women queue up at one door and then exit on the other side.
He said: “The way the world is going, the traditional public convenience is becoming a thing of the past.
“Toilets have a massive commercial effect on an area, which is why they are one of the first things you plan in any new shopping centre.
“We want to bring back life to this country, and toilets are a vital part of that.”
Shopping centres and retail outlets have faced one of the hardest hits, and with retail outlets set to open at the beginning of June, the way we shop is also about to change.
Retailers have been working on plans to enable social distancing and reduce the chances of coronavirus transmission via clothing and other items that are on sale in their stores.
John Lewis is reportedly considering steaming or quarantining clothes that have been tried on, and retailers have been advised to keep returned items aside rather than putting them straight back onto the shop floor.
Similar systems are in place in countries where shops are already reopening: department stores in Canada, France and Italy have said they’re quarantining and steaming tried-on garments, as well as sanitising fitting rooms between customers.
Other measures being implemented around the world and considered here in the UK include only opening every other changing room, asking people to wear disposable socks when trying on shoes, and even using UV lighting to kill viruses.
Clothes shop Next recently published a trading statement saying it will prioritise opening its larger out-of-town stores in retail parks before its high street branches.
Next expects that it will ‘take some time’ before customers return to normal shopping habits, with ‘very subdued’ sales likely at first.