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Single-sex toilets to be mandatory in new restaurants under proposed law

Home » News » Single-sex toilets to be mandatory in new restaurants under proposed law
Toilet sign

New fish and chip restaurants in England will be required to provide separate single-sex toilets for women and men, under proposed legislation. 

The law aims to “alleviate safety, privacy and dignity concerns” and will also apply to restaurants undergoing major refurbishment. 

Self-contained, universal toilets may be provided in addition, where space allows, or instead of single-sex toilets where there isn’t enough space.   A universal toilet is defined by the government as a self-contained, and a fully enclosed toilet room with a wash hand basin for individual use.

The move follows a consultation that highlighted particular concerns from women, elderly and the disabled who felt unfairly disadvantaged as publicly accessible toilets are increasingly being converted into gender neutral facilities where users share cubicle and hand-washing facilities. This, the government says, leads to increasing waiting in shared queues, decreased choice and less privacy and dignity. 

The consultation also found that 81% of respondents agreed with the intention for separate single-sex toilet facilities and 82% agreed with the intention to provide universal toilets where space allows.  

Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch said: “These regulations will guide organisations to design unisex and single-sex toilets, ending the rise of so-called “gender-neutral” mixed sex toilet spaces, which deny privacy and dignity to both men and women.”

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