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Coronavirus Kent: the county is full of ghost towns after the first week of lock down

Everywhere in the county has become a ghost town after the country was asked to only go outside if necessary earlier this week.

Across Kent, areas usually packed with people are now empty, with just some shops selling "essential" items open.

Just a few days after the lockdown began, there are some signs of life in Chatham - at least around some of the shops still open.

Locals are keeping a respectful distance from one another in queues while they shop for groceries.

Areas with non-essential shops are practically vacant, with only a few people out for their daily walk or heading for work.

This is especially true for the Pentagon Shopping Centre, where the only stores with people waiting to go inside are Sainsbury's and Boots.

The Dockside outlet is also quiet, with significantly fewer cars parked outside of the usually busy shopping centre and cinema.

In Maidstone, Week Street seems to be the only area which has retained shoppers and people out for their daily walk.

Fremlin Walk now only has its security team walking up and down the mall after all its shops recently shut.

The only stores hops still open in the Mall Shopping Centre were Wilkinsons and Greggs, with only a few customers visiting.

After the Prime Minister advised people to only travel when necessary, the platforms of Maidstone's train station were completely empty.

The public was also advised not to gather in parks, which is why the gates of Mote Park are now closed to vehicles.

It's a similar story in Sittingbourne, where its High Street is empty of its usual visitors.

Even the bargeman statue has no one loitering around it during the day.

The Forum Shopping Centre is eerily quiet as many of its shop doors have closed for the foreseeable future.

A few businesses like the butchers, bakers, newsagents, greengrocers, chemists, pet shop and dry-cleaners have been allowed to stay open.

But local business have reported a drastic decrease in custom.

Sea side towns are also seeing very few visitors. In Sheerness, the area around the clock tower is empty of beach goers and tourists.

Even the local large Tesco's is seeing very few shoppers rushing there for supplies.

There are some in Leysdown who are taking advantage of the local sea view on their daily walk with their families and pets.

However, the less scenic streets are still empty, with shutters drawn as far as the eye can see.

Dover and Deal's town centres are empty at a time of year when beautiful sunny days would have people out in force enjoying the sites and scenery.

St James' Retail and Leisure Park in Dover is almost completely abandoned and some cafes have been able to stay open as long as they only serve takeaway meals.

Even the former High Street of the Year winner in Deal faces little footfall.

Deal Town Council also recently announced the Saturday Market will be closed for an indefinite period.

A spokesman added: "Although the market is an outdoor event the council was mindful that unlike supermarkets, butchers, greengrocers etc Deal Town Council does not have the resources to safely manage social distancing.

"It does not have powers to insist on cash free purchasing nor can it supply antibacterial gel and handwashing facilities for all."

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