Reopening of public conveniences

27 June, 2020

1.1 The purpose of this report is to provide Elected Members with an update on the plans to reopen public conveniences in South Ayrshire in line with the Scottish Governments restriction easing route map.

2. Background

2.1 Full lockdown in Scotland officially began on 23 March 2020 – South Ayrshire took the decision, along with all local authorities in Scotland to close all public conveniences across South Ayrshire, in-line with national guidance. On the 18 June, the Scottish Government announced the move to Phase 2 of the route map through the crisis which allows local people to travel 5 miles within their community for outdoor leisure and exercise and expands further on outdoor gatherings. There is currently no formal national guidance around the reopening of public conveniences and they remain closed across Scotland.

2.2 During this time, South Ayrshire has been developing plans for the phased reopening of public conveniences when allowed to do so. This includes reviewing current cleaning advice for non-health care settings and establishing additional resource requirements to deliver a safe service. In the last week, a working group has been established by SOLACE that proposes to take an approach similar to that of the successful reopening of recycling centres, with a national sector led group to determine an agreed reopening plan. South Ayrshire is participating with the group and working with the Government and Public Health Scotland to establish appropriate hygiene and safety guidance to allow a safety led reopening of public conveniences. At this point it is being suggested that staffed public conveniences could be reopened at Phase 3 of the Scottish Government route map.

3. Further easing of restrictions

3.1 The First Ministers briefing on Wednesday 24 June set out further dates for the easing of restrictions including:

3 July

– travel restriction of 5 miles will be relaxed

– The use of self-contained holiday accommodation – such as cottages, lodges and caravans with no shared services – will also be allowed, along with second homes.

6 July

– pubs and restaurants will be able to open outdoor spaces, such as beer gardens

3.2 It is hoped that good progress will allow the transition to Phase 3 of the route map on 10 July and this will allow people to meet up in larger groups outdoors and a maximum of 2 households indoors. It should be noted that these dates are indicative and based on continued suppression of the virus and will be confirmed on 2 July and 9 July respectively.

3.3 It is clear the pace of lockdown easing is increasing, as is footfall in our towns and coastal areas. We will continue to actively participate within the SOLACE working group and prepare for the reopening of public conveniences as soon as safely practicable and in line with health and Scottish Government guidance.