toilet wc restroom sign men and woman icon graphic on wall

Americans are going out into the world less often, and they’re also visiting the restroom less frequently when they are out. In fact, because of COVID-19 they’re planning their shopping trips specifically around the call of nature in order to avoid public restrooms. This all according to Big Red Rooster, a JLL company, who partnered with ENGINE Insights to survey 1,000 American adults in September 2020 about what they expect of the post-COVID public restroom. 

“Consumers are constantly thinking about safety,” said Emily Albright Miller, vice president of strategy at Big Red Rooster, in a press release. “Especially when it comes to the cleanliness of public restrooms. Clear communication surrounding cleaning protocols, including visible, consistent time stamps of the last clean can help consumers feel safe — which could have a direct impact on whether or not they choose to order another drink or browse another rack.” 

The survey found:

- 98 percent of consumers believe restroom cleanliness is important

- 42 percent have used public restrooms significantly less than they did before the pandemic

- One-third have left a public restroom without using it due to lack of cleanliness

- 36 percent have planned shorter shopping trips to avoid using public restrooms

- 9 percent have used a portable toilet to avoid going into a public restroom

- 12 percent say they or a family member has urinated outdoors to avoid a public restroom

- 15 percent report holding their breath during their restroom trip

“As we enter into what is typically the busiest time of year for shopping and traveling, it is important for organizations to understand and adapt based on what consumers need to feel safe,” said David Albert, managing director, ENGINE Insights. “The less time people spend at a specific location, the less they will spend with that business. To avoid a negative impact on the bottom line, it is critical for brands to commit to the restroom amenities that help consumers feel safer in public restrooms.”