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LIVE: More shops reopen in Gravesend

Shoppers returned to Gravesend town centre this morning as many stores opened their doors for the first time since lockdown restrictions were introduced.

One eager shopper was seen queuing for Primark at 7.30am but was soon joined by dozens of others, with around 100 people queuing around the corner from New Road to Princes Street.

The queue outside Primark, Gravesend, this morning
The queue outside Primark, Gravesend, this morning

The store opened its doors early so customers could browse before the tills opened, and all those entering were asked to sanitise their hands inside.

Out on the street a steady trickle of shoppers returned to the town, although some stores still remain closed.

Debenhams and Greggs are both expected to open later this week, while Tesco remains open as it has throughout lockdown.

Valerie Jarvis, 76, from Gravesend, said: “I think it’s great seeing the shops open. I’m after anything I can get my hands on. I’m not going mad like some of them pushing about. I’m just going to B&M and Wilkinson’s."

Albert Jarrett, 34, from Northfleet, added: “It’s just trial and error. We’re going to have to see what impact it has in terms of infections. It’s a case of balancing the economy against health. We’ll have to wait and see but it has to be done.

“I’m just coming to get some simple things. I’ve been into town recently but it’s a different scale now.”

Andy Curley, 63, from Northridge Road, Gravesend, said: “We’re just getting basic necessities – we’ll probably just go to Wilko's and B&M.

"It’s good to see places open. Provided they keep social distancing it’s ok. The shops won’t be able to continue if they haven’t got any trade.”

Tom Gear, 37, from Bucks Cross Road, Gravesend, said: “I’m literally just coming in to change a duvet set. I think it’s giving a bit of a sense of normality for some.

"The only thing I will say is some people are a little bit crazy. My wife works for Barclay's and there’s a lot of people who have been doing non-essential banking there.

“I get it, though. I’m a warehouse manager and I’ve kept working. I’ve got a routine and I’ve been able to go to work. A lot of people have been stuck indoors.”

Arzkon Miamj, 26, from Gravesend, was among those in the queue for Primark.

“My son is one year old,” she said. “I bought clothes for him three months ago so I need to buy some new ones again.

“It’s nice to see shops open. We need to go back to normality and now is the right time.

“I’m a little bit worried but I’ll keep my distance and it will be ok.

“It’s a good thing for the economy for the shops to open. It’s good for everyone – it’s good for me, for the shops, for everyone.”

It was a similar story around the rest of the county.

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