EDITOR, Daily News:
Year 2020 enters a new way of life for everyone, thanks, if it’s the main factor, to COVID-19.
Residents may change out the bath towel more often and stock more soap; tissue flushed will remain the same into the system.
For Ketchikan, which hosts 1.2 million visitors, the need for more restrooms — and how the public will depend on supplies required: soap, toilet tissue, paper hand towels and toilet seat covers — will become 2020's biggest expense to city, merchants, attractions and CHARR members; and to island's waste-management systems. Cruise passenger head tax is a revenue resource to subsidize businesses and city for this expense.
Currently, all public restrooms offer the minimum dispensers for soap, seat covers and towels; and maybe up to three tissue holders. Tissue and seat covers can be flushed; paper hand towels will be tossed in a plastic garbage bag, along with hypodermic needles for lack of dispenser. Expect to see more disposable plastic gloves, face masks and sanitation products arriving with this population.
Janitorial service, whether conducted by employer and staff or through contracts, must be prepared to meet the demand, storage closet for supplies, work stoppage to replenish supplies, and sanitize for frequent use.
Electricity vs. waste management. Bundling and shipping waste paper products are already an expense we can hardly afford; now double that with the health crisis as visitors overuse paper products for precaution sake. What can the wastewater system expect from idiots flushing stuff down the toilet? Universal signage in all restrooms must be installed before May 1.
Air hand dryers, ranging from $400 to $1,500 plus electrical installation, may be a solution. I recommend all city facilities make hand dryers mandatory; businesses consider installation a cost of doing business and for the environment. Electricity increases offset paper products in landfill.
For all those who can't or won't, please install more tissue holders, hand towel and seat cover dispensers to avoid work stoppage to replenish. And lease — fear vs. fact — drugs are here to stay. Work with health organizations and install needle dispensers to collect and dispose of needles. If the community offers bags for dog poop, then we need dispensers for needles — both are a community health issue.
Much discussion about the need for more centrally located restrooms doesn't seem to get a quick solution or implementation: within the boardwalk of Creek Street, Berth 1, second location near Berth 2, along the waterfront promenade, Newtown and bus stop at The Plaza mall. The Stedman Loo is a great example of ready-made public toilet with current expense of $150,000 each. Those who installed The Loo have great praise on function without abuse. Not sure why city planners are budgeting one restroom at $1.5 million versus six mini-versions for $900,000, plus hook-up to KPU equals $1.5 million.
Guests are arriving in 60 days, and again we rush to find Band-Aids to fix this long-term problem.
MARY L. STEPHENSON