Two public toilets reopened in city centre

The Greenmarket Square.

The Central City Improvement District (CCID) says it is pleased that the City of Cape Town will reopen at least two ablution facilities in the city centre.

The City announced last week that, following requests from NGOs and public interest groups, they have decided to reopen 19 ablution facilities across the city, including ones at Thibault Square and Greenmarket Square.

The ablutions were closed along with all other public spaces due to the national coronavirus lockdown.

In a statement, the City said the intention  to reopen some of these facilities is to assist homeless people.

The decision was taken within the parameters and strict guidelines of national Covid-19 regulations and in consultation with the Western Cape Provincial Government.

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos said the opening of the facilities was good news, as they have recently seen a massive increase in “hotspot” areas in the CBD where people urinate and defecate in public due to a lack of ablutions. 

“It is very expensive to clean and sanitise ‘hotspot’ areas. They have become an issue, especially during the lockdown when there have been limited City of Cape Town services available. This service is now being done by the CCID via our service provider, Straatwerk.”

Social development manager, Pat Eddy, said the CCID was concerned that people living on the streets did not have access to running water, and therefore were not able to wash and sanitise their hands. 

“Under normal circumstances, access to running water is a basic human necessity and becomes even more significant while trying to implement even the most basic hand-washing practices as recommended internationally to try and minimise the spread of the Covid-19 virus.”

In addtion, Mr Evangelinos said the CCID is considering setting up washing stations with soap and hand sanitiser outside these toilets, which will be managed by Straatwerk. 

He said they would also consider extending the hours of these washing stations so that the homeless have access to water after the ablution facilities close.

The ablution facilities will be managed by the City in line with the Covid-19 National Public Hygiene Strategy and Implementation Plan, said Mayoral committee member for health and community services, Dr Zahid Badroodien.

He said the hygiene standards include routine environmental cleaning as an essential part of disinfection. Items such as door handles, taps, toilets, wash hand basins and railings, which are frequently touched in public places should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Disinfectants must be used for reducing microbial contamination on surfaces, in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions.

In addition to these measures, posters and pamphlets will be made available to raise awareness on the prevention of Covid-19 and the symptoms associated with the disease as well as steps to follow to get support and treatment, if necessary. 

“Environmental health practitioners will monitor conditions at the ablution facilities and will report any unhygienic conditions found during such inspections,” said Dr Badroodien.

Other ablution facilities which will be reopened include Eikendal, Bellville public toilet (located at Shoprite/SARS), Simon’s Town public toilet (also known as Long Beach), Kensington, Fish Hoek Beach, Observatory, Kalk Bay (also known as night shelter public toilet), Lagoon Beach, Muizenberg Pavilion, Melkbosstrand, Newlands, Witsands, Aberdene, Camps Bay Tidal Pool, Maidens Cove Upper, Milton Beach and Three Anchor Bay public toilets. 
Mr Badroodien reminded communities that public parks, pools and beaches remain closed as per lockdown regulations.