In Pictures: Coronavirus contrast of empty motorways and supermarket queues

Boris Johnson ordered the closure of the hospitality and entertainment sectors from Saturday amid fears the NHS could be overwhelmed.

Press Association
Last updated: 21 March 2020 - 12.10pm

As the growing reality of the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, there was a marked contrast on high streets and at retail parks on Saturday morning as shoppers prioritised buying food and household provisions.

Boris Johnson ordered the closure of the hospitality and entertainment sectors from Saturday amid fears the NHS could be overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases.

With scientists warning “social distancing” measures will have to stay in place for months to come, tens of thousands of pubs, bars, restaurants, cinemas, nightclubs, gyms and betting shops were left wondering when they will be able to open their doors again.

Motorways were nearly empty in contrast to the queues to enter supermarket car parks.

M62 at Liverpool
A quiet M62 motorway near Liverpool on Saturday morning (Peter Byrne/PA)
Coronavirus queues
Hundreds of people queue to enter a Costco Wholesalers in Coventry (Jacob King/PA)
Coronavirus motorway traffic
The M1 at junction 25 near Long Eaton in Derbyshire was also clear of traffic (Scott Wilson/PA)

Other forms of transport were also seeing a reduction in passengers.

Empty train on West Coast mainline
An empty carriage on a West Coast Main Line service (Fran Nelson/PA)
Car parking spaces were easier to come by, everywhere but outside supermarkets (Joe Giddens/PA)
Coronavirus queues
Cars queue to get into the car park at a branch of the Food Warehouse, in south London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Coronavirus queues
A member of staff directs queuing customers (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Coronavirus queues
Some shoppers at a branch of Aldi in south London took the precaution to wear masks (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Coronavirus queues
Large queues formed outside shops despite pleas for social distancing (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Coronavirus queues
An orderly queue formed outside Sainsbury’s in Guildford (Adam Davy/PA)

Other parts of the high street and leisure sites had mixed fortunes.

No bookings are being made in this travel agents in Leicester (Joe Giddens/PA)
Coronavirus queues
A man wearing a facemask outside a hardware shop in Islington (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Gyms are among the businesses told to close (Joe Giddens/PA)
Coronavirus queues
The empty car park outside an Odeon cinema, which had already decided to close before the PM’s speech (Joe Giddens/PA)

Meanwhile, there is no more waiting to be served in pubs and bars after the Prime Minister said they should shut.

Boris Johnson ordered pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and gyms across the country to close from Saturday (Joe Giddens/PA)
A closed pub in New Cross, south London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Coronavirus closes pubs
Keith McGimpsey, landlord of the Rocket pub in Rainhill, Merseyside, puts up closed signs outside his premises (Peter Byrne/PA)

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