From independent traders to the town’s newly refurbished Royal Victoria Place [RVP] shopping centre, scores of shops in the town have reopened their doors for the first time since lockdown began on March 23.
It follows the easing of lockdown measures by the Government that has allowed non-essential shops to open from today [June 15].
To ensure social distancing is maintained and shoppers kept safe, new measures have been introduced around the town.
These include pavement signs indicating two-metre marks for queuing shoppers, one-way signs on narrow pavements, and, for two weeks, a team of ‘street ambassadors’ will be on hand to provide guidance and assistance to visitors.
Some stores are also limiting the number of shoppers that can enter.
To encourage visitors, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has reduced parking fees for the next fortnight, with four hours now costing £2.00 at RVP, Crescent Road and Great Hall car parks – but the offer is not available for cash payments.
Public toilets are also open at the Crescent Road car park, Calverley Grounds and in RVP.
Not all businesses have been allowed to reopen, however.
Hairdressers, gyms, pubs, bars and restaurants will remain closed for at least the next two weeks, while a number of high street chains are also conducting phased re-openings, with shops such as fashion retailer Next in RVP not planning to open its Tunbridge Wells branch until next Monday.
Local bus and train operators have also increased their services from today, but the Government has advised people to avoid public transport where possible – it is also now mandatory to wear a face mask when travelling on a bus or train.