Shoppers welcome move to open eatery restrooms for women
Prithika (goes by just one name), 21, had a comfortable shopping experience at the Hauz Khas market on Monday. Unlike previous days, she did not have to exercise bladder control and rush home to relieve herself.
Prithika, a student, for the first time used the toilet facility at a restaurant in the market, without even bothering to order anything to eat. She claimed it was a big relief for her.
On Day One of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s decision to allow free restrooms access to women and children in hotels/restaurants, Hindustan Times visited some markets in south Delhi to grasp the realties on the ground. While the visitors, especially women, were very happy with the decision, restaurants and eateries had mixed reactions.
“Unfortunately, public restrooms for women are not readily available here, and if they are, they are dirty, stinky and completely foul. That’s why we have learnt to go without urinating for hours. I am happy that restaurants are supporting the decision,” said Prithika.
The women cited accessibility, hygiene and safety as three major reasons as to why the scheme should be continued and women allowed access to private rest rooms in comparison to public toilets.
“There is no denying the fact that loos in restaurants are much more hygienic than public toilets. I would be more comfortable using them, even I have to pay certain amount of money,” said Meghna Singh, 21, a regular visitor to Hauz Khas Village.
But there are certain loopholes that might come in the way of continuation of such schemes, a numebr of people believed.
“Implementation would depend on the willingness of hotelier or restaurant owner. He can deny entry to anyone, especially when the eatery is full. The execution will be hit by the class wall. While a well dressed woman can get access to these rest rooms easily, there are chances that the underprivileged wouldn’t be allowed entry to the place,” said Harman Kaur, a resident of Defence Colony.
Some restaurant owners agreed. “We are in any case allowing shoppers to use our restrooms, even if they don’t want to dine. However, this diktat will create chaos as anyone and everyone will be able to come in,” said Tanuj Kumar of My Bar at Hauz Khas Village.
According to another restaurateur, the decision will also affect the hotel ambience. “The civic body should focus more on building functional toilets,” he said, on the condition of anonymity.
“We have received good response on day one. Soon, all hotels and restaurants will be asked to place a board outside. We have given them freedom to restrict entry of people found breaching the safety and security of restaurants or misusing the facility,” said a senior south corporation official.