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Public Restrooms

 
  Business establishments are not specifically required by any Federal law to provide public restrooms. Some States however have adopted mandates for public restrooms in some locations and in some facilities. The American's With Disabilities Act (ADA) along with some State building codes do require that new and renovated public restrooms comply with accessibility standards and guidelines. Federal law does require that employers make restrooms available for employees but no federal law specifically requires businesses to make public restrooms available for customers.

Americans must rely on public restroom mandates adopted via individual state or local ordinances. Consequently, many businesses' restrooms are not public restrooms and may legally be closed during certain hours, limited to employees or completely closed to the public. There are public restroom organizations such as the American Restroom Association that act as advocates for the availability of clean, safe, well designed public restrooms. We owe many thanks to such organizations for the level of access to public restrooms that we enjoy today. Much work remains to be done, specifically the enactment of Federal statutes mandating public restrooms.

Public restrooms are very important in today's mobile society. People go to the restroom on average 6 times per day - men spend on average 30 seconds per visit and women spend on average 60 seconds per visit. Because women require more restroom time per visit some states require that public restrooms have 50% more stalls than men's restrooms to reduce the line wait time for women. Most women would agree that the availability of stalls in public restrooms is a major aggravation, primarily because there has been no legal requirement to provide "adequate" facilities for the public.

The availability of public restrooms is a longstanding societal problem in the U.S. but it is improving. Most new buildings today, both public and private, are equipped with public restrooms that include all the modern apparatus to gratify and satisfy the most discriminating patrons. In public restrooms today you will find, not just clean toilets, but high efficiency washroom accessories such as touch free toilet paper and paper towel dispensers, heated air hand dryers and anti-bacterial soap dispensers.

The evolution of the public restroom is evident each time we visit a new facility. If you want to improve public restrooms you must speak up - continued public pressure on local, state and federal officials to mandate better public restrooms is required. Also, whenever you find a public restroom that does not meet your standards for cleanliness and quality - confront management of that facility with a friendly suggestion such as- "Cleaning up your public restroom would be a nice gesture to your customers."

 
     

 
 
 

 
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