KAPA’A—Kealia Beach patron Doug Bowers hasn’t noticed any changes in his recent trips to the public restroom facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic response on Kaua‘i.
Bowers, who frequents the beach, uses public facilities regularly and praised the county for their work.
“I don’t know if it looks any different,” Bowers, a citizen of Kapa‘a, said. “I barely paid attention when I used it. I don’t know if it is being cleaned less. I am thinking it would because the beaches aren’t used like they used to be (before the COVID-19 pandemic.). Generally, I think they are doing a good job.”
Kaua’i County modified its sanitation standards for its public restrooms, hoping to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Wallace G. Rezentes Jr. said.
The county focused on protocol with its employees tasked to take care of the public facilities.
Now, restrooms are more thoroughly cleaned and completely disinfected on a daily basis.
During the process, the entire restroom interior is wholly sprayed with a disinfectant solution and left to air dry.
The county is emphasizing immediate sanitizing areas, such as office space, vehicles, and equipment, and claims they added signs on the restrooms, which were defaced or ripped off the walls.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the restrooms were cleaned with disinfectant with the focus being on the toilets and sinks.
Some of the personal protective equipment county employees are now expected to wear include —nitrile gloves, face shields or goggles, masks, and steel toe rubber or waterproof boots.
Currently, the county has 91 public facilities on the island, including 27 on the west and 64 in the east.
Kaua’i expects cooperation from the public in hopes they will practice current social distancing protocols.
Implementing these new procedures aren’t easy, Rezentes Jr. said.
“Maintaining public restrooms at high-use locations during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge to keep clean consistently,” Rezentes Jr. said. “We want to ask that the public report to the police all vandalism or other illicit activity that they witness in public parks and restrooms.”
Public perception of the cleanliness of the bathrooms is mixed with residents.
Chucky Rapozo, a retired janitor for Kaua’i County for 24 years, volunteers his time to help clean up various park and recreation facilities on the island.
Rapozo claims to have a good line of communication with the county and claims every time he’s informed them of a problem with one of their sanitation stations, it’s taken care of quickly.
Rapozo hopes the county adds hand sanitizer in every station. They are currently stocked with essential hand soap and didn’t address anything about the addition of hand sanitizer in their recent letter to TGI.
According to Rapozo, not each restroom currently has the necessary hand sanitizer to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
“I am more concerned for the kids,” Rapozo said. “They should have hand sanitizer and soap dispensaries at every county bathroom. That is not going to cost more than $10-$20 thousand dollars.”
Ben Ferris, who worked with the county as an independent contractor to build some of the bathrooms in the1980s, expressed full confidence in the county’s ability to diligently oversee public safety.
“The county knows what they are doing, so I think they will step up their sanitation program and clean the bathrooms more frequently,” Ferris said.
“This area is well taken care of, and they always have someone picking up trash and cleaning the bathrooms. Their facilities are nice, open and use-able, and they can have access to parks and beaches.”
Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 652-2229.