Towns reel from new rules aimed at stemming coronavirus spread

Towns reel from new rules aimed at stemming coronavirus spread
Tunbridge Wells town centre

Boris Johnson’s radical measures to try to stop the exponential spread of the Covid-19 virus have already seen a number of businesses in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge close their doors, and many more are expected to follow suit.

Shops, pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas have already announced closures, and a number of businesses have fallen into administration following the unprecedented effects of the viral outbreak, which has so far claimed 71 lives across the UK.

The elections scheduled to take place on May 7 in Tunbridge Wells have been cancelled, as has the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Numerous buildings and offices have been closed to visitors, while some firms are insisting staff work remotely.

Local pubs are already feeling the brunt of the crisis with a number shutting their doors – despite the Government not ordering them to do so.

The Common Rooms on Mount Ephraim announced yesterday [Tuesday], that: “In light of the current situation we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily close The Common Rooms for the safety of our customers.

“We hope you understand, and we look forward to opening again as soon as it is practical to do so.”

But not all landlords and publicans intend to close immediately.

Despite measures in last week’s budget to protect pubs from the virus outbreak, including scrapping of Business Rates and an increase in the pub relief scheme from £1,000 to £5,000, publicans say this will not be enough to protect their businesses.

Julian Leefe-Griffiths, who runs the Tunbridge Wells Hotel in The Pantiles, says he intends to stay open until Mother’s Day but will take ‘every sensible precaution’.

Last night, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced a raft of measures to help businesses that are forced to close.

These include an expansion of the Business Rates holiday announced in last week’s budget to all firms in the hospitality sector.

He also promised Government loans for businesses, worth £330billion.

Hotels as well as pubs are also feeling the effects of Monday’s announcement, with some reporting occupancy as low as just one or two guests.

Other casualties include Index Magazine, which has fallen into liquidation after 26 years. The popular local lifestyle magazine, published by SG Media, collapsed last Friday [March 13].

National chains are also succumbing to the current health emergency, with Carphone Warehouse, Carluccio’s and Laura Ashley all making announcements yesterday [see page 16-17 for the latest national coronovirus news].


Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter