THIS was Brighton at lunchtime on Thursday.

Aside from a handful of shoppers, Churchill Square shopping centre at the heart of the city was deserted.

An eerie silence descended over the entire place, broken only by the perpetual electric sound of the escalators rolling.

Outside, two friends sat having lunch on different benches, chatting across the divide as they ate sandwiches.


Elsewhere, Queen’s Road was empty as police officers guarded Brighton Station.

A queue of customers waiting to get into Boots in North Road, all standing several feet apart, were some of the only people in the city centre at lunchtime.

At one point, two police cars suddenly came blaring down Western Road with blue flashing lights, shattering the silence.

A few other shops are also open, including Specsavers opticians in North Road, where staff are offering a counter service at the door for urgent medical problems.

Many more have shut their doors in the middle of the week possibly for the first time since they opened.

Brighton seafront was also notably less busy, with people making sure they walk two metres apart from others.

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal.  Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. To donate visit