Road Trip (and public restroom) Discussion

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MARC Rider

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Public restrooms aren’t suddenly going to go the way of the pay phone...
Just having returned from a road trip, I have to second this statement. :)
I think the risks of infections from public restrooms have been overstated by many. Even in the northeastern states where they're taking Covid very seriously, all the highway rest stop public restrooms that I visited (well, with the exception of a rest stop on I-91 in Bradford Vermont) are open for business. Plus at convenience stores, drugstores, etc. I don't even want to think of what the world would be like if public restrooms were all closed.

Wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your face 6 feet for other people's faces. That's about what's needed.

MODERATOR NOTE: this comment together with the several following it were split from the Viewliner Sleeper Restroom thread in the Amtrak Discussion forum
 
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Exvalley

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Even in the northeastern states where they're taking Covid very seriously, all the highway rest stop public restrooms that I visited (well, with the exception of a rest stop on I-91 in Bradford Vermont) are open for business.
Even Vermont is now re-opening it’s rest areas. And what the heck were you doing in Bradford, Vermont heading north? Canada is closed unless you’re a trucker or essential worker!
 

Barb Stout

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Just having returned from a road trip, I have to second this statement. :)
I think the risks of infections from public restrooms have been overstated by many. Even in the northeastern states where they're taking Covid very seriously, all the highway rest stop public restrooms that I visited (well, with the exception of a rest stop on I-91 in Bradford Vermont) are open for business. Plus at convenience stores, drugstores, etc. I don't even want to think of what the world would be like if public restrooms were all closed.
We know what the world would be like when public restrooms are closed because of what happened at various national and state parks when they were shut down recently: people pooped and peed everywhere, but particularly right outside the locked restrooms. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.
 

MARC Rider

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Even Vermont is now re-opening it’s rest areas. And what the heck were you doing in Bradford, Vermont heading north? Canada is closed unless you’re a trucker or essential worker!
We were heading for the family cabin-on-the-lake in Rangeley, Maine. Our route takes us up I-91 to St. Johnsbury, then over to Lanacaster, Groveton, and Errol. A lot less traffic than taking I-95 up through Portland.

This was a week ago. The rest area was open, but the building with the toilets was closed. They had Port-a-potties that were in unspeakable condition. On our return trip, this past Sunday, the southbound rest area in Hartford was open, though you had to enter and leave pretty quickly, and there was pretty much no hanging around to get tourist information. (They had a few maps and brochures on a rack outside.)
 

Exvalley

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I see that the Bradford rest area is not on the list of ones that have reopened. Pro tip: Get off at the next exit and use the restroom at P&H Truck Stop.
 
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MARC Rider

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We know what the world would be like when public restrooms are closed because of what happened at various national and state parks when they were shut down recently: people pooped and peed everywhere, but particularly right outside the locked restrooms. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.
Oh, yes, I roll my eyes a little at this. I've seen the closed toilets in our local parks, but so far, I haven't noticed any foul or disgusting conditions. On the other hand, ever since the Heat Dome has descended on us, I haven't gone outdoors as much as I did earlier in the spring.

I would think if the parks are open, then the authorities need to provide toilet facilities. In some of our local parks, they closed the restrooms and put out port-a-potties. I'm not sure if this is actually lowers any sort of risk or not. I would have liked to have attended the staff meetings where the park agencies made the decision to close the toilets. I'm not sure what their justification was.
 

Barb Stout

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Oh, yes, I roll my eyes a little at this. I've seen the closed toilets in our local parks, but so far, I haven't noticed any foul or disgusting conditions. On the other hand, ever since the Heat Dome has descended on us, I haven't gone outdoors as much as I did earlier in the spring.

I would think if the parks are open, then the authorities need to provide toilet facilities. In some of our local parks, they closed the restrooms and put out port-a-potties. I'm not sure if this is actually lowers any sort of risk or not. I would have liked to have attended the staff meetings where the park agencies made the decision to close the toilets. I'm not sure what their justification was.
I believe the parks were NOT open, but people came anyway. The parks are not sealed by a block wall and people have legs. And a lot of parks have highways that run through them.
 

MARC Rider

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I believe the parks were NOT open, but people came anyway. The parks are not sealed by a block wall and people have legs. And a lot of parks have highways that run through them.
Oh no, our parks are definitely open, it's just the restrooms that are closed, (although a few replaced the real restrooms with Port-a-potties.) Not just state and local parks, even Catoctin National Park is open, with closed restrooms, and if they wanted to close that, they could have easily closed the park roads to traffic. Of course, in the more remote backcountry, people can still use the woods, like they always do, practicing proper backcountry sanitation practices.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I recently had to take a bio break out on the open road and considered the threat level as I pulled into a rest area. Here in TX lots of people don't take masks or self-reporting seriously so that's a concern, but our rest areas generally have plenty of ventilation so I figured it was probably workable so long as I kept my wits about me. This particular location was under construction but the workers were in another area and the only other visitor was leaving as I was arriving. In the end I saw no issues and everything worked out fine. If it was closed then I guess I would have had to come up something a bit less than ideal.
 

jiml

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I guess it varies by jurisdiction, but restrooms here seem to have been an afterthought in re-opening. We have yet to "dine-in" at a restaurant since that became an option a few weeks ago, but most take-out places still have their restrooms reserved for staff and essential workers. That was the case in KFC yesterday and the McD near here has porta-potties in the parking lot for the general public.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I would think if the parks are open, then the authorities need to provide toilet facilities. In some of our local parks, they closed the restrooms and put out port-a-potties. I'm not sure if this is actually lowers any sort of risk or not. I would have liked to have attended the staff meetings where the park agencies made the decision to close the toilets. I'm not sure what their justification was.
Delaware had closed the state parks bathrooms and my county had removed the port-a-johns in the county parks for a while, but they've been back for a few weeks. The small city near me, where I go for my walk next to the NEC tracks, kept their port-a-johns open at the city parks.

I made lots of visits to Wawa (convenience store/gas station) during those weeks the park bathrooms were closed or missing when I went out for my daily walks.
 

Bob Dylan

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Austin and Texas have pretty much followed the same pattern as Delaware, plus they have Strict Limits on the Number of people than can use Parks and Trails,with Reservations required to get in.

Park Rangers,LE and Code Compliance people enforce the rules.
 

John Santos

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I also love this term. Is this more PC? When you're too late it has to be Bio-Hazard? 😷
I have often heard this term used while listening in on space walks on the ISS and the Hubble repair space shuttle missions.
 

tgstubbs1

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I recently had to take a bio break out on the open road and considered the threat level as I pulled into a rest area. Here in TX lots of people don't take masks or self-reporting seriously so that's a concern, but our rest areas generally have plenty of ventilation so I figured it was probably workable so long as I kept my wits about me. This particular location was under construction but the workers were in another area and the only other visitor was leaving as I was arriving. In the end I saw no issues and everything worked out fine. If it was closed then I guess I would have had to come up something a bit less than ideal.
It's a good thing about the ventilation. It's looking like that might be the most important issue because of transmission by aerosol. Getting corona-virus from a toilet seat seems pretty unlikely to me.
There have been a number of cases when all the standard precautions were taken ( hand washing, mask, 6 ft separation) didn't prevent the spread. Someone was spewing aerosol virus and the surgical type mask didn 't filter effectively enough.
 

anumberone

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I love the term bio break. I chuckled for about 20 seconds. When I was young and our family traveled in the Dakotas in the '60s and '70s, we took our bio breaks in the corn fields. Cover, relief, and fertilizer all at the same time.
I'm glad you left out TP
 

AmtrakBlue

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It's a good thing about the ventilation. It's looking like that might be the most important issue because of transmission by aerosol. Getting corona-virus from a toilet seat seems pretty unlikely to me.
There have been a number of cases when all the standard precautions were taken ( hand washing, mask, 6 ft separation) didn't prevent the spread. Someone was spewing aerosol virus and the surgical type mask didn 't filter effectively enough.
Our wearing of masks is to keep our aerosol from reaching others, not to keep an unmasked person's aerosol from reaching us. Though it's better than not have a mask if near an anti-masker. I will be wearing a mask with a filter when I go to Baltimore on Wednesday to protect others and myself. Otherwise I just wear neck gaiters or non-filtered cloth masks.
 
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