Eager shoppers formed lengthy queues outside town centre stores this morning as the gradual easing of lockdown continues.
Lines of customers were seen outside clothing outlets in Maidstone first thing today as the high street takes its first tentative steps towards something approaching normality.
The longest queue this morning was at Primark in Weak Street, and although the line snaked down to the nearby Burger King shoppers said it was moving fast.
There were other significant queues of customers waiting outside Zara in Fremlin Walk and Flying Tiger in Week Street.
Fashion fans were queuing outside Primark an hour and a half before doors were due to open, the shop manager said.
Wendy Terry, manager at the huge Week Street store, said she was surprised when she arrived at 6.40am that there were no lines outside the store but people started arriving from 7am.
Ms Terry said: "We opened a bit earlier because the queue was getting quite long. We opened at 8.05am. It has been fantastic, we are getting positive feedback about there being enough room in the store."
One woman queuing outside Zara, who did not want to be named, joked she had been having "withdrawal symptoms" from the shops and was looking forward to browsing the sales.
Kris Van Haeften has been running his fruit stall in the town during the pandemic but on reduced hours and also upping his home delivery for the elderly, which helped keep revenue up.
He said: "It's obviously a lot busier than it has been. There are ridiculous queues in Primark. It has been quite busy the last couple of weeks.
"Hopefully everything is getting back to normal, but it's going to take a long time for people shopper to get their confidence back , particularly the elderly."
But while the shops and brands are familiar - the experience of browsing for goods in physical stores will be much changed as businesses adapt to the realities of trading in the post-coronavirus age.
A range of safety measures have been bought in to protect both customers and shop staff.
In public spaces social distancing rules apply, with 51 signs dotted around Maidstone town centre reinforcing the message, and shoppers are being encouraged stay to the left when walking down narrow streets.
Maidstone Borough Council has even removed some street furniture in an attempt to make it easier for shoppers to keep apart from others.
Many shops are also limiting the number people who can be inside at any one time.
The borough council and the town's business improvement district One Maidstone are working closely with Kent County Council and Kent Police to make sure everything is safe for shoppers to return.
John Foster, the council's head of economic development, said: "Opening up our town centres is vital to their future success and those essential businesses within them.
"We will be keeping a very close eye on the situation and may need to make changes as things progress; this is a completely new scenario for all of us."