Are Stores Required to Have Public Restrooms?

By Melissa Bajorek - Updated June 12, 2017
Brass restroom sign

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

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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

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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.

Special Situtations

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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.

About the Author

Melissa Bajorek began writing professionally in 2001. Her work has appeared online, in daily newspapers and on websites owned by Gatehouse Media, in monthly periodicals and for local and regional radio. She writes about a variety of topics, from new technology to animal husbandry. Bajorek has an Associate of Arts in business management from the University of Phoenix and holds certifications in marketing and advertising.

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