As with so many other aspects of American life, Covid-19 exposed and exacerbated the American bathroom gap: While the affluent purchased increasingly ornate fixtures for their homes, delivery drivers and other essential workers struggled with ever-more-limited options. In cities with high rates of homelessness, efforts to install temporary hygiene facilities during lockdowns often met resistance from community members and city officials, even as frustrated local businesses locked their restrooms to prevent use from unhoused individuals.
Toilet co-editor Harvey Molotch, an emeritus professor of social and cultural analysis and sociology at New York University, also sees the pandemic as an opportunity to reconsider how public restrooms are built — particular with regards to airflow. Modern heating and ventilation systems and electric lighting made this less of a priority in 20th century public restroom design, which was typically windowless; Molotch hopes to see a reversal of that trend, by adding windows, skylights and other openings.
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I noticed this during the pandemic, that all the public restrooms in my city were locked and marked closed due to potential virus spreading. But people still have to pee. Homeless people have no place to choose from. It's very strange that the US seems to ignore this issue.