SHELL LAKE, WI -- Shell Lake beachgoers can now be relieved to know they have a bathroom facility to use after the  City Council voted to close all public bathrooms.

During an emergency meeting of the Shell Lake City Council last week, the Council voted to close all bathroom facilities in Shell Lake. The vote to do so was due to COVID-19 and the concern of not being able to sanitize and clean the bathrooms to a level in which they felt comfortable. Previously, the bathrooms were being “deep” cleaned in the morning and at night, along with cleaning every hour during day-time hours. Due to various reasons, the available staff tasked with the cleaning was no longer available to do so. This led local businesses to figure out how to handle the increased traffic to their restroom facilities. One business owner has taken it upon himself to give another option.

Matt Dryden, the owner of the Body Shop Fitness Center in Shell Lake, has paid for - at no cost to the City - a portable toilet to be placed in front of his business which is directly across the street from the beach for any and all to use that feel comfortable doing so.

“During the emergency Shell Lake City Council meeting, I voiced my concerns about where beach patrons would go in order to use a restroom,” said Matt. I knew closing the public restrooms wouldn’t solve the problem of COVID-19 concerns, rather, it would simply shift the responsibility to the business owners to address. I suggested that the bathroom towards the north side of the beach remain open since it could be the easiest to maintain as it is a single-stall restroom. I also raised concerns that having no public restrooms might deter patrons from visiting the beach, and subsequently, our town altogether. When voicing these concerns to the city council, I was essentially told, 'this is a problem that you will have to deal with.' Providing a portable toilet for the public was how I chose to deal with it, and it seemed to be the best option for all the visitors coming to Shell Lake who support our community.”

Matt says that the portable toilet will be kept at its location as long as it is needed throughout the summer.

“I clean the portable toilet daily. However it is not on a specific schedule", said Matt. "At many different boat landings in other towns I have visited this summer, the consensus seems to be that bathrooms at most of these areas are set up very similarly as ours. As far as the other businesses in Shell Lake, each will make their own decision as to whether they will allow the public to use their facilities or not.”

The facility is located In front of the Body Shop Fitness Center and next to Matt’s Ice Cream Stand. Hand sanitizer will also be stocked in the portable toilet.


UPDATE: Shell Lake City Administrator Andy Eiche stated to DrydenWire.com earlier today that the Shell Lake City Council will be discussing the possibility of opening the north bathroom facility as early as next week.

“The City Council will be revisiting their decision on bathroom closures as it pertains to the bathroom located on the north end of the beach in light of a potential source for cleaning that has presented itself.”


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