Published: 00:18, 09 November 2020
| Updated: 00:20, 09 November 2020
It was a sinking feeling of deja-vu as shop owners pulled down their shutters for the second national coronavirus lockdown on Sheppey.
Sheerness certainly looked like a ghost town on Thursday, the first day of the closure, although there were a few more shoppers around than last time and this time there were cafes and cake shops open for takeaway treats.
In Sheerness High Street Stephen Jackson of Jacksonwood vintage tea rooms was putting on a brave face and, like his neighbours at the Arizona Diner, was open only for takeaways.
He said: "I have tables and chairs outside on the pavement but they are just for show to tell people I'm open."
Greggs was busy and Boyce's Bakers next door was open. When times are tough, people always need cake.
But Gary Contant, 46, who manages the DIY shop Car Home and Garden was looking forward to closing at 4pm.
He said gloomily: "Footfall is down. I don't think we have taken enough to even pay my wages. But at least we are allowed to open in case anyone has a burst pipe."
His boss Peter Cripps, along with many other traders, has signed a petition asking Swale council to reopen the High Street to traffic and has put a poster his window offering free white sticks to "blind" councillors. Vehicles have been banned six days a week since the first lockdown ended in July.
Mr Contant said: "The council closed it without any discussion. The elderly and those with disabled Blue Badges are finding it very hard to come shopping. It's about time it was reopened."
Traffic isn't due back until January.
Some traders trying to keep the wolf from the door have tried new schemes. Lewis Stacey, who runs Rob's Traditional Greengrocers, discovered during the first lockdown the only way to stay in business was to boost home deliveries.
He admitted: "We couldn't survive without that."
The newly-opened Fairweathers Caribbean cafe is now selling goat curry in a box to take away. Free delivery on orders £15 and over.
Jewellers remained closed, hoping customers will return on December 2 for their Christmas gifts.
Phil Crowder who chairs the Sheerness Town Team said: "Please, whenever possible, buy what you require from a local shop, either in person, or by getting them to deliver if they offer that option, and support our high street."
For those who need to buy online, they can place orders via the Easyfundraising site. Mr Crowder said: "It won't cost you anything but the Sheerness Town Team will receive a donation which we can use to support our high street with events and promotions."