Action plan to help retail centres re-open safely

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Last Updated: 09 Jun 2020 12:43pm

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council is implementing a range of measures to support the safe re-opening of shops and businesses across the borough from next week.

The action plan has been developed following the government’s announcement that lockdown will be lifted for high streets and other commercial areas from Monday 15 June. Outlets permitted to trade will include clothes shops, toy stores, electronics retailers, booksellers, indoor markets, shoe shops, tailors, auction houses and photography studios.

Tonbridge High Street and village centres such as Borough Green and West Malling are expected to see the highest increase in footfall as up to 600 stores open their doors for the first time in more than two months. The plan, which is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, will include the following measures:

  • Poster, street sign and social media reminders to maintain social distancing
  • High street support officers to provide information and guidance to shoppers
  • Additional cleaning of street furniture and public facilities
  • CCTV monitoring to monitor queues and identify any overcrowding issues

The re-opening of high streets coincides with new rules requiring all public transport passengers to wear face coverings. With shoppers and commuters being urged to avoid public transport where possible, Kent County Council has announced plans to invest in schemes to help make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The plans include proposals to extend 20mph speed limits to most built up areas of Tonbridge.

In a message to residents published today council leader, Nicolas Heslop, emphasised that despite low infection rates in Tonbridge and Malling the risk posed by coronavirus remained real and that staying safe while shopping will require everyone to act responsibly.

He said: “While things will be different and social distancing the new norm, shopping locally and safely is the best way we can support local businesses and breathe life back into our local economy.

“If everyone works collaboratively and acts responsibly I’m confident we can continue to make progress and navigate the road to recovery. By working together and observing the rules, we can make our towns and villages safe and welcoming spaces once again.”