England’s city streets deserted on sombre first day of month-long Covid lockdown

Today marked the beginning of England's second lockdown, and the difference on the streets of cities across the country was striking.

In normal times on a day like today people would be seen going to work, seeing their friends or even starting their early Christmas shopping.

But shops, restaurants, pubs and a whole array of other businesses have now been forced to close amid rising coronavirus cases across the country.

Meanwhile anyone found out and about without a good reason could be slapped with a £200 fine.

Leicester city centre was much quieter than in recent weeks, although a number of people could still be seen walking around the city centre, while the market was largely deserted apart from traders themselves.

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Loughborough town centre is also usually bustling with life at midday on a Thursday. But today barely anyone could be seen, Leicestershire Live reports.

It was a similar picture for the town centre in Coalville with empty streets, shops, restaurants and very few people in sight.

Hinckley was one of the busier town centres in the county, but only the odd person could be seen walking through the centre.

And it wasn't just the city and the various towns around the county that were empty, the M1 was barely used through the county. The picture below shows the junction at Copt Oak at around midday.

Meanwhile these photos, taken less than 24 hours apart, show busy Newcastle nightlife spots which have now been completely deserted.

On Wednesday night, revellers packed the Bigg Market to enjoy their final night of freedom before England entered a second national lockdown.

Large queues formed outside of city centre bars such as Passing Clouds, Bijoux and The Mile Castle as partygoers braved the cold.

There was a heavy police presence in the Bigg Market as many pubs and bars were fully booked up until closing time at 10pm, Chronicle Live reports.

Santa hats and costumes were donned by drinkers eager to enjoy their last night of freedom before new restrictions came into force.

Ticketed events were held in venues across the city with predominantly students flooding onto the streets.

Pubs and bars were "ram packed", with students telling Chronicle Live that social distancing was not being observed in some venues.

Fast-forward to Thursday evening and the Bigg Market was a vastly different scene.

Not a soul could be seen as it appears residents are obeying the new restrictions telling them to stay at home.

Under new rules, hospitality venues have been forced to close their doors for the second time this year. Some venues are able to stay open for takeaway and delivery services.

Non-essential shops are also shutting down with some able to provide click and collect services.

The lockdown is set to be reviewed on December 2, with Boris Johnson today insisting the country will return to the tier system then.

Speaking from Downing Street, the Prime Minister said: "There is light at the end of the tunnel."

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