Lockdown returns to the high street - what a difference a day makes

Gentleman's Walk in Norwich on the day the second national lockdown began. Picture: Danielle Booden

Gentleman's Walk in Norwich on the day the second national lockdown began. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

The same locations but remarkably different - all in the space of 24 hours.

Crowds in Gentleman's Walk the day before the second lockdown begins. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Crowds in Gentleman's Walk the day before the second lockdown begins. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Start of the second coronavirus lockdown on November 5 ushered in a stark chance to Norfolk’s high streets.

Gone were the bustling streets full of shoppers, replaced with a sparsely populated copy of the scene a day earlier.

People head into Kings Lynn for last minute shopping ahead of the second lockdown.
Picture: Sonya Du

People head into Kings Lynn for last minute shopping ahead of the second lockdown. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The impending restrictions meant Wednesday in Norwich, King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Beccles was busier than usual as shoppers rushed to the shops before most closed for the next four weeks.

The same streets on Thursday in the four places were focussed were very different. While they were far from deserted, the thongs of people were conspicuous by their absence.

Beccles town centre on the first day of the second national lockdown. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Beccles town centre on the first day of the second national lockdown. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: NEIL DIDSBURY


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On Gentleman’s Walk in Norwich most stores were closed and what people there were to be seen were mainly heading through on route elsewhere.

King’s Lynn town centre was noticeably quieter. The queues to enter shops, banks and cafes were all gone.

Gentleman's Walk in Norwich on the day the second national lockdown began. Picture: Danielle Booden

Gentleman's Walk in Norwich on the day the second national lockdown began. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

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They were replaced with scenes more lille a very quiet Sunday - or if you can remember that far back, before Sunday trading was allowed.

In Great Yarmouth the market place had a spartan feel, while in Beccles the contrast with 24 hours previous was even more pronounced. The town centre had the eerie feeling much more reminiscent of the first lockdown in March.

Crowds in Gentleman's Walk the day before the second lockdown begins. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Crowds in Gentleman's Walk the day before the second lockdown begins. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Back then, when it was introduced on a Saturday, streets, normally thronged with crowds, were instead all but like a strange new ghost town.

There was a strange eeriness to the normally bustling Gentleman’s Walk and London Street in Norwich, left devoid of all shoppers.

Beccles town centre on the first day of the second national lockdown. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Beccles town centre on the first day of the second national lockdown. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: NEIL DIDSBURY

There are notable differences in this second lockdown which mean high streets won’t be left quite as quiet.

Dentists and opticians were only open for emergency appointments at the start of the last lockdown but they can open as usual this time. Boots Opticians and Specsavers say they will operate as normal.

Great Yarmouth on first day of second UK lock down Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Great Yarmouth on first day of second UK lock down Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

The range of essential shops has been expanded and non-essential shops closed once again can this time run click and collect - where customers order products online can go to pick them up in store.

Great Yarmouth day before second lock down. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Great Yarmouth day before second lock down. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth day before second lock down. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Great Yarmouth day before second lock down. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth on first day of second UK lock down Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Great Yarmouth on first day of second UK lock down Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Gentleman's Walk in Norwich on the day the second national lockdown began. Picture: Danielle Booden

Gentleman's Walk in Norwich on the day the second national lockdown began. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

People head into Kings Lynn for last minute shopping ahead of the second lockdown.
Picture: Sonya Du

People head into Kings Lynn for last minute shopping ahead of the second lockdown. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

People head into Kings Lynn for last minute shopping ahead of the second lockdown.
Picture: Sonya Du

People head into Kings Lynn for last minute shopping ahead of the second lockdown. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

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