Restaurants diversify to takeaways as virus rules bite…

A number of restaurants in both Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge have begun delivering meals or providing a pick-up service, to ensure they can still trade and allow customers to adhere to the social distancing rules.

Popular Camden Road brasserie Rendez-Vous is staying open as a takeaway, following the Government’s insistence that all restaurants, bars and theatres close down.

And other local businesses are not only looking to diversify into the eat-out business, but also looking to see how they can help the community throughout the health emergency. Sankeys’ fishmongers has started selling bread, milk and eggs, while Zorba Meze Grill in Tunbridge Wells cooked and delivered 100 free meals for NHS staff on night shift at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

To assist businesses to make the transition to diversify, the local councils have relaxed usual planning procedures.

A spokesperson for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said: “The Council’s Planning Services Team is operating on a business as usual approach. We are continuing to assess planning applications, respond to correspondence, move forward with the Local Plan and undertake the usual day-to-day tasks.

“The Government has made announcements around relaxation of usual restrictions on delivery times and to allow pubs and restaurants to temporarily operate as takeaways.

“We are conscious of the need for flexibility to ensure that businesses can adapt to operate in this period.

“Planning Services will therefore look at any requests from businesses to temporarily alter their operating procedures (which may impact on planning restrictions) in a positive and pragmatic way, considering each on a case-by-case basis.”

But she added that it was important that businesses contact Planning Services to discuss any alterations by emailing

Meanwhile, fast food giant McDonald’s has announced full store closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, amid growing concerns about safe social distancing. The burger chain closed every single one of its restaurants.

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