Easter lockdown: is it being observed in our top tourist spots?
PUBLISHED: 14:30 11 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:49 12 April 2020
They would usually be heaving with tourists and locals on sunny Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
But today they are eerily deserted, and - perversely - it is good news.
For the people of Norfolk and Suffolk are heeding warnings from the Government and police, and staying indoors to help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Our reporters observed (from a safe distance) the scenes in eight key locations that would normally be rammed on a day like this. And here is what they saw:
GREAT YARMOUTH (By Reece Hanson)
The Easter weekend is always one of the most eagerly anticipated around the coast.
Add in a dose of glorious sunshine and cloudless skies and you’ve got most of East Anglia arriving to shake away the winter blues.
Yet this bank holiday weekend is like none in recent times.
Usually, only the early bird catches the parking spaces along Great Yarmouth’s lengthy seafront, but vast stretches of Marine Parade’s roadside parking remains empty, and that’s with the borough council blocking access to all their car parks.
The council’s message that Great Yarmouth is closed has certainly been heard.
LOWESTOFT (Reece Hanson)
The situation is a mirror image down the coast in Lowestoft.
The occasional cyclist or dog walker is all that interrupts the sound of the waves lapping on the shore. There’s no jingle of the ice cream van, or the sound of dozens of excited children rushing towards it.
There’s no smell of fish and chips in the air, and tearooms and beer gardens remain eerily silent.
Even the seagulls have stayed away.
HUNSTANTON (Emily Thomson)
Despite the sunshine, holiday makers and locals were pretty much nowhere to be seen on Hunstanton beach.
It seems communities have taken heed of the governments warning to not leave their homes, as the usually packed coastal destination was more like a ghost town on Saturday.
Only joggers and families taking their daily exercise could be seen on the otherwise deserted promenade.
Seaside cafes were shut for business, no life could be seen at the sea life centre or adventure golf and the shutters were down at the amusements.
And the beach fairground, which is usually filled with noise and children’s laughter, was silent, with only the sound of the sea in the distance.
MORE: Delia and Michael’s coronavirus message to the Norwich City fans.
KING’S LYNN (Emily Thomson)
Police, key workers and essential shoppers were the only people to be seen in Kings Lynn’s town centre.
As communities have been urged to stay at home, police have been patrolling the town to ensure members of the public are keeping to government restrictions during the pandemic.
King’s Lynn’s usually-bustling retail stores were closed, leaving only essential shops and supermarkets open.
Queues of people waited outside Wilko and Sainsbury’s as key workers ensured they kept to the two-metre social distancing requirement, letting one person in at a time.
On-duty officers could be seen speaking with those who were wandering the streets or in need of assistance, including an elderly woman who didn’t realise her bank was closed.
But despite the sunshine, it seemed residents were not tempted to bend the rules.
CROMER (David Bale)
The seafront at Cromer was virtually deserted with hardly anyone enjoying the beautiful sunshine. And the benches on the front overlooking the seafront were cordoned off, anyway. Was that really necessary?
The only people out and about seemed to be dog walkers and those taking their daily exercise. There were hundreds of free car parking spaces, and with nearly all the shops closed, except for the odd butcher’s and newsagent’s, there was no real reason to venture forth, unless it was essential.
SHERINGHAM (David Bale)
But it was a bit busier in nearby Sheringham.
People kept the two-metre social distancing rule while queuing for fruit and veg on the Station Road Approach car and coach park.
And the streets leading down to the seafront were busier than those in Cromer, with more businesses seemingly open.
The odd nurse walked by and there were many people walking their dogs. While most were surely on essential business, some seemed to be tourists and on holiday.
But everyone seemed to be keeping their distances from everyone else, so no harm done, hopefully.
NORWICH (Simon Parkin)
There is a strange eeriness to the normally bustling Saturday streets of Norwich, left devoid of all but a handful of shoppers.
Gentleman’s Walk and London Street, normally thronged with weekend crowds, are instead all but deserted in this strange new ghost town.
The entrance to Chapelfield is without families crowding in and out.
The handful of shops still open include Tesco and Marks and Spencer’s food hall, with people forced to queue to enter in limited numbers. Some others stores have either been emptied of stock or, adding to the ghost town feel, boarded up altogether, including McDonald’s.
On Norwich Market, normally so busy, the only stalls open were Paul’s Butchers, The Orient Express and Joe’s Pets.
People that could be seen are a mixture of wary mask-wearing shoppers, cyclists and families strolling through on their hour of freedom.
Chapelfield Gardens would normally be a hive of activity with families enjoying the Easter funfair. But despite the glorious weather, few people could be seen, with a handful sunbathing but most either walking through or cycling without stopping.
On the Riverside walk past Norwich Cathedral there were families to be seen stretching their legs and walking dogs in their hour of exercise, but a wariness of getting too close meant even here most were not keen to linger.
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