Guide to some of the common social distancing issues during Covid-19

Temporary markings to regulate queues

You may use temporary markings such as tape or chalk on the pavement. You do not need Cornwall Council permission for this activity. You should:

  • speak to your neighbours first
  • check that this action won’t have a knock-on effect on adjacent premises
  • make sure that there will still be enough safe room for other pedestrians to pass.
  • ensure that you provide appropriate disabled access.

Encouraging social distancing

At seating areas and bus stops you may mark safe spaces using temporary tape as a reminder.

You may use posters and small signs reminding people to stay 2m apart. You do not need Cornwall Council permission for this activity.  

We encourage you to get a consensus on the best way forward by talking to:

  • the local Town or Parish Council
  • local community interest groups
  • business forums
  • other appropriate groups

Cornwall Council and Transport Operators will put appropriate signs at transport hubs. Please contact us if you have a concern in your area relating to this.

You can place general reminders about social distancing in busy pedestrianised areas.  You can use either “home-made” signs or more formal ones. You do not need Cornwall Council permission for this activity. You could use these at gateway points to shopping areas or other high footfall areas. You should make sure that placing signs doesn’t:

  • reduce the available space for pedestrians to keep apart
  • affect access to neighbouring premises.

You should:

  • be careful to place signs where they are not going to become a hazard. Please think particularly about people in wheelchairs or with an eyesight disability.
  • have a discussion with local stakeholders. Try and get a consensus on the best way forward.

Please remove all unnecessary street furniture such as A-Frames and displays outside shops. This will make sure that the full width of the pavement is available.

Consider if a “one way” pedestrian pavement would work. This would consist of advisory signage and would not be enforceable, but may help.

Barriers may help to use part of the road for pedestrians. This will need a contractor registered with Cornwall Council to provide and maintain. You will also need a licence. Requests for this sort of measure should be locally agreed and supported. Please contact your local Highways and Environment Manager or Community Link Officer. They will liaise with the local Cornwall Councillor and Town or Parish Council.

If vegetation is blocking the pavement you should ask the landowner to sort it.  Or you can report it on the issues with hedges and verges page.

You could use advisory signs to deter people from using parking spaces or taxi ranks. You must ensure there is significant local support to do this. These will not be enforceable.

Making more significant changes to the highway

A Temporary Traffic Regulation Order is required to remove, alter, or permit regulated activities on the Highway.

These include things such as:

  • parking restrictions
  • parking permissions
  • one way systems
  • pedestrianised zones
  • speed limits
  • road closures
  • closing a taxi rank

Please try some of the simpler alternatives as a first resort to see whether they work. If the community believe that a formal order is required, then it must be locally planned and agreed. There must be strong consensus from the community that the measures are appropriate. This will avoid wasting public money on later removing the scheme due to opposition.

It can take up to five weeks to put the TTRO in place. Please limit requests for TTROs where they would be the only workable solution. To discuss ideas further, please contact your local Highways & Environment Manager.

Once the TTRO is in place, Cornwall Council can enforce any parking issues. The Police have the power to enforce moving traffic offences within the closure.

At the request of the towns and communities we may use emergency powers to close roads. This is to protect public health and create space for social distancing. This is in line with Government guidance. We will not manage the provision of free car parking spaces in our car parks as part of this emergency response. For general queries about parking please email:  or call 0300 1234 222.

If you have an issue with the temporary scheme please contact:

  • your Town or Parish Council, or
  • BID

If you need involvement from Cornwall Council please contact your Community Link Officer

If it is a safety and traffic management issue please contact the Highway and Environment Manager.

Towns should allow temporary schemes reasonable time to ‘bed in’ before considering changes. If there are safety critical issues, please report these immediately. This will ensure the best use of public money.

Use of outside space for cafes and pubs

You can use outside areas to support social distancing for cafes and pubs. You will need risk assessments and appropriate licences and permissions. You must ensure that any use of any outside area does not impact on:

  • the ability for pedestrians and disabled users to use the street
  • complying with social distancing guidelines.

You will need to apply to Cornwall Council for a temporary pavement licence

You will also need permission if you wish to use any other Council outdoor property such as:

  • open green space
  • car parks
  • harbours
  • piers

All businesses will need to undertake a Covid risk assessment. This should include inside and outside seating areas. This must include procedures involving regular clearing, cleaning and sanitising. Please read the national guidance for takeaways.

The Business Regulatory Support hub has more information.

You need further licensing if you are:

  • selling alcohol (for consumption on or off the premises)
  • supplying late night refreshment (hot food or drink between 11pm and 5am the next day)

If you already have a licence you need to ensure that it covers you to use any outside areas. If not, you may need to apply to vary the licence. The Council’s Licensing Team can help you with:

  • the application
  • the authorisation process
  • providing other regulatory support needed.

Please contact for more information.

If you are considering marquees or awnings for shelter you must ensure that at least 50% of the sides are fully open to be considered outdoors.

If selling alcohol for consumption off your premises then:

  • Please tell customers if there is a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in place.
  • This controls the drinking of alcohol in public places.
  • These Orders remain in force. An authorised person can, where appropriate, seize the alcohol and pour it away.

If you are selling food and drink for takeaway or consumption outdoors, then you should:

  • ensure public areas around your business do not become littered
  • schedule litter picking
  • provide waste bins
  • dispose waste in line with existing commercial waste arrangements.

Further Covid-19 information

For more information not covered by this page:


For Highway and Environment Managers please contact one of the following email addresses –

Other contacts

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