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Need to pee? Toilet etiquette in the time of coronavirus

As restrictions continue to ease and the country slowly reopens for business, there is another crisis looming. With limited public toilets available due to concerns about Covid-19 transmission in such confined spaces, what are we to do when caught short and need to answer the call of nature? Suzanne Harrington asks the experts how this will impact those who need it most

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​Opening restaurant and café loos to the public will need to follow stringent hygiene protocols

​Opening restaurant and café loos to the public will need to follow stringent hygiene protocols

Dr Brian Higgins says the lack of public loos is discriminatory

Dr Brian Higgins says the lack of public loos is discriminatory

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​Opening restaurant and café loos to the public will need to follow stringent hygiene protocols

Let's talk about wee. We may also touch on poo. It's not something we would normally talk about, unless with our doctor, but current circumstances remain some way from normal, in that we are slowly re-emerging from lockdown, super-keen to see our loved ones, have been given the go-ahead to travel a bit, but - and here's the issue - what if we need to go to the loo?

There aren't any. What may seem like a simple lack reflects something quite complex, in terms of health, wellbeing and the environment. We can't all pee in bushes. Even if we were able-bodied enough to urinate outdoors - unlike men, women must squat - if everyone did it, the results would be unhygienic, socially unacceptable, and kill the bushes. Beaches, parks, areas of beauty would smell horrible. Plus, it's undignified, unless you are wild camping somewhere remote. Anywhere else is not an option.

So what can you do? Does this mean people who need to pee frequently - which is loads of us - have to stay home? It's been deemed okay to use the bathroom when you visit people's homes - hand washing remains key - but what if this isn't an option? Does it mean you have to stay home, not because of Covid, but because of lack of public facilities? Or if you want to venture out, does this mean you have to make friends with a urinating device like a Shewee, or purchase a mini chemical toilet to keep in your car? Do any of us really want to do that?