Are Stores Required to Have Public Restrooms?

Brass restroom sign
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While restrooms are needed in most food-serving establishments by law, not all retail stores are required to provide restrooms for customers. Store restroom requirements are based on square footage, occupancy, local and state laws.

Restroom Laws

Restroom Sinks

According to the American Restroom Association, all businesses are required by federal law to provide restrooms for employees. Some states and local governments have started adopting laws pertaining to customer access restrooms as well. The plumbing, size and occupancy requirements for these restrooms are covered state building codes.

Locking Restrooms

Wooden bathroom door

According to the American Restroom Association, any person in a business location is considered an occupant of that business. Locked restrooms, or restrooms intended only for employees are legal, but in most states staff must unlock the restroom if any occupant asks.

Read More: Rules & Regulations for Business Public Restrooms


Special Situtations


In some states, like Texas, a retail business must open their private restrooms only to individuals with health conditions. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, an individual must be able to provide proof of their medical condition with an ID card or letter from a medical professional.


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