These are the scenes in Doncaster town centre after people were told to stay home

This is how Doncaster town centre and parks look after the borough was placed in near lockdown.

By David Kessen
Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 4:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 12:34 pm

Government restrictions mean people can only go out to exercise once a day, travel to and from work when "absolutely necessary", shop for essential items and fulfil medical needs.

Shops selling non-essential goods have been told to shut and public gatherings of more than two people who do not live together are prohibited.

People pictured outside HSBC, Doncaster. Picture: NDFP-24-03-20 Donc Town 8-NMSY

People were still queueing at HSBC on the corner of Hgh Street. But the queue was longer than usual as people spaced themselves to keep their distance from one another.

A usually bustling market place was nearly deserted in places, non-food stalls having now been shut. But food stalls continued to trade. Extra barriers had been put in place to encourage people to keep a distance.

There remained a few people walking along Baxtergate, but many fewer than you would usually see on a working day.

Walking further along, to the front of the Frenchgate Centre, just a few days ago bustling crowds had still been gathering at the entrance.

Market Place, Doncaster. Picture: NDFP-24-03-20 Donc Town 7-NMSY

But there was none of that, with only nine of its stores open. Some sat on benches outside, while a woman on a mobility scooter made her way through the middle of the road.

Around the corner, on French Gate, near Marks and Spencers, it was quieter still, with the pigeons strutting jerkily along the flagstones without feet to hinder them, more than matching the people in terms of numbers.

Police have been on the streets to keep an eye on things. But Insp Alison Carr said officers had not had to make arrests, and most of the police involvement so far had been helping to supervise queues and make sure that people were observing social distancing.

Doncaster’s parks appeared nearly empty. Walking along the paths at Sandall Park revealed more geese than people. Similarly, ducks ruled the roost along the banks of Doncaster Lakeside, usually busy on sunny days, despite a handful of dog walkers and joggers, taking their daily exercise.

And children’s play areas at Elfield Park and Sandall Park were empty.