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Retail economy

The Council has been working with partner organisations, including Royal Tunbridge Wells Together Business Improvement District (RTWT BID) and the parish and town councils, to support the reopening of all our high streets and town centres in the borough.

We recognise that the reopening will not happen overnight, but over a longer period as retailers will open only when they are ready to receive staff and customers back safely.

We want to support businesses and make visitors feel welcome and confident in our high streets and town centres.

Reopening our High Streets

More information can be found in our "Reopening our High Streets" document.

Reopening safely

Businesses must be responsible for their own staff and customers including managing queues outside stores. Please work with your neighbours to make this easier.

The Government has produced guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

The Government has also produced guidance on keeping workers and clients safe during Covid 19 in close contact services. Please read and consider this document in full.

The Government website lists a range of sector specific guidance on working safely during coronavirus.

Please ensure that you have:

  • completed a Covid-19 risk assessment
  • followed government guidance
  • put signage and communication around your business for your employees and customers

Risk assessment templates

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has provided guidance on managing risk and preparing a risk assessment at work. The HSE has also created an example Covid-19 risk assessment template.

Employers are also encouraged to display a blue notice visibly in their shop window, to show everyone that they have followed guidance. This notice can be downloaded for use from the GOV.UK website.

Public realm - signs and markings

We are making some changes within the public realm to assist customers with social distancing and queueing. You may see tape or other markings on the pavements to help show areas for queuing and those for pedestrian flows. Social distancing will be encouraged by suggested one-way routes on some of our narrower pavements. There will also be red and white social distancing reminder signs in the public realm.

Street maps have also been produced showing pavement taping for shop queuing and suggested pedestrian one-way flows.


Please be aware of the Kent County Council licence requirements if you wish to have an A-board outside your business.

It may be necessary to remove A-boards if they are causing a hazard in relation to social distancing requirements, please keep this under review.

Tables and chairs on pavements

Please see our Pavement licences for outdoor seating page.


Additional measures are being implemented in our car parks to support social distancing including:

  • removing the cash option on payment machines
  • bay suspensions adjacent to payment machines
  • decommissioning some machines to enable social distancing
  • exploring the use of anti-bacterial coating on surfaces in car parks
  • temporary signage and floor markings where required

Our website contains further information about car parks across the borough and registering for RingGo, the easy way to pay for your parking.

Public transport

Further information about local bus and train services are available on operators’ websites.

Bus operators

Train operators

Street cleaning

The Council is committed to keeping all our high streets and town centres clean and welcoming. Cleaning is regularly reviewed.

Public toilets

Toilets are open at Crescent Road car park, Calverley Grounds (opposite the railway station) and Royal Victoria Place shopping centre.

Deliveries and commercial waste

Please consider if you need to make (or request) changes to the timing of deliveries and commercial waste collections at your business. This may be an issue if you have customers queuing in the same area when deliveries or collections are being made.

Check your water supply

South East Water has identified some key actions they strongly advise businesses to take if you have been away from your premises for more than a week. The South East Water website contains information about recovering drinking water supplies in buildings and networks after prolonged inactivity.