‘I have to go:’ How to Use Public Toilets During COVID-19

By The Captain August 11, 2020

Wellness Captain Find and Use Public Toilets During Coronavirus

When was the last time worried about finding a public toilet? That’s right, never.

In this day and age, you can find a public toilet literally anywhere: gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops, every single functioning unit has a bathroom you could use…

…until the coronavirus pandemic hit and made countless public business owner to close their bathrooms for all customers.


‘I have to go!’

Over the past few months, the staff at the Riverside Central 76 station, near the 91 Freeway, witnessed many desperate situations. Assistant manager Cesar Mungaray says that ‘lots of people come here from other stations saying, ‘I have to go!’ And if we notice people heading to the wall [outside], we go to the door and shout, ‘Hey, we have restrooms open inside,’ because when they have to go, they’ll go outside.”

Even if you do find an open public toilet, would you risk your health to go there? We know restrooms can be the dirtiest places of all, and the few staff members still working in restaurants or bars may not disinfect toilets after every single client.

I know the simplest solution is what everyone’s been yelling for months: stay at home.

However, many essential workers still need to drive for a long distance to their workplace. Some may be coffee addicts, which fills the bladder in no time. Add the summer heat that makes us drink considerably more liquids than usual and you have the perfect recipe for a real emergency.


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Alternative solutions

Think about truck drivers, who spend almost all of their days, every day, driving. Many of them got a portable urinal just to stay as safe as possible. Sure, it’s not comfortable or pleasant, but it’s better than endlessly searching for an open toilet, right?

If you don’t like the thought and you’re lucky enough to find an open public toilet, do the very best you can to be safe:

  1. Wear a mask and maintain social distance from everyone;
  2. Try to touch as few things as possible; wear gloves or use wet tissues to open doors or touch other handles;
  3. Bring your hand sanitizer and soap in case the restroom lacks cleaning supplies;
  4. Be as quick as possible; the longer you stay, the more exposed you are.


How are you managing to find and use the toilet during public spaces these days? Share your tips below and let’s help each other out!

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Wellness Captain