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Opinion: Third wave of COVID-19 is making Burnaby public washrooms disappear

Customers are being told they can't use washrooms even after buying things
Some Burnaby businesses are closing their washrooms for customers.

The latest wave of cases related to COVID-19 has meant more people in hospital and worse.

It’s also meant more people being put out of work due to new restrictions.

The list of negative impacts goes on and on. One area that is really hurting people is the fact that many businesses are now making their public bathrooms inaccessible to customers.

A reminder that the restrictions are on indoor dining, but restaurants are still able to keep their bathrooms open for customers. Same goes for grocery stores and shopping malls.

Sadly, not everyone is getting the message.

I’ve been to several Burnaby businesses to pick up groceries or takeout food and have been told I can’t use their washrooms.

This is a bad situation for many people who venture out into the community.

I remember interviewing a senior named Esther who was so angry she was spitting venom at Burnaby stores who are still refusing to reopen their washrooms to customers.

 “At my age and after having kids, it’s not so easy when there isn’t a washroom available,” she said.

I agree.

If you want people to spend an extended period of time in your store shopping, you need to reopen your washroom facilities.

It’s only fair to customers, especially people with disabilities.

Claire Cupples, an emeritus professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at Burnaby’s SFU told CTV News that these washrooms are safe during COVID-19.

“On a scale of one to 10, I’d put washrooms at maybe a three or four,” she is quoted as saying.

So stores aren’t protecting customers. Their staff are already cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, so a washroom should be included on that list.

Seriously, I see staff cleaning and sanitizing the shopping baskets that customers use. I don’t think cleaning the washrooms is any more of a risk.

So let’s get it done.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.


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