Kokua Line
June Watanabe

Waianae Mall
will stay shut

Question: Waianae Mall still has the public restrooms secured. It's a sad case when people have to go out in the back or walk up to the bushes to take care of business. Can't something be done to reopen the restrooms?

Answer: For the foreseeable future, no.

Because of repeated acts of vandalism and just the trashing of the restrooms, they will remain closed, said Debbie Vansice, the mall's operations manager.

The new owner, West Oahu Mall Associates LLC, has reaffirmed the decision, she said.

This was after "months and months and months" of problems, including a fire, thefts of four commercial toilet paper dispensers, which cost $150 each, the spreading of feces on the walls and floor, and just the general trashing of the facility.

The restrooms were closed and reopened several times to try to accommodate the public.

"We've tried all kinds of things (unsuccessfully) so just decided to shut it permanently down and only the tenants have use of it," Vansice said.

Shopping malls are not required by state law to provide public restrooms.

The Department of Health's requirements cover food service establishments, such as restaurants and markets, and places of public gathering, such as theaters, schools, dormitories, auditoriums and churches.

Shopping malls are not covered by the department's rules for public restrooms, said department spokeswoman Janice Okubo.

However, food establishments within a shopping mall are required to provide restroom facilities for their staff. "This is to ensure safe sanitation practices by food handlers," Okubo said.

"If a food establishment serves liquor, it is required to provide a restroom for the public based on the number of patrons," she said.

Two examples of state requirements: A market with up to 10 employees must have one toilet and one hand-washing sink for its staff; an auditorium holding up to 100 people must have one male and one female toilet, and one holding 401 to 750 people must have three for men and four for women. For more than 750 people, there has to be an additional toilet for each sex for each additional 500 people.

You can find more details at www.hawaii.gov/health. Click on "About DOH," then "Rules and Regulations." The topic is covered under Title 11, Chapter 11, Section 9.

Time and time again

In response to Monday's "Kokua Line" about calling 983-3211 to get the time of day, two readers pointed to two Web sites that also provide accurate times: www.time.gov and www.timeanddate.com/worldcloc k.

The first site provides times throughout the United States and is maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and its military counterpart, the U.S. Naval Observatory.

The second site provides local times worldwide.


See the Columnists section for some past articles.

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