THESE Somerset streets would usually be bustling with people enjoying the sunshine.

But streets across the county resembled a ghost town on Tuesday (March 24) after Boris Johnson told the British public to stay at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The Prime Minister announced a number of strict new measures on Monday night (March 23) as the UK coronavirus death toll continued to rise.

The measures mean that people are only allowed to leave their home for very limited purposes including shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day, medical needs and travelling to work only when absolutely necessary.

Yeovil Express:

The centre of Bridgwater was almost empty on Monday

To ensure residents complied with the new measures the Government closed all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores, banned public gatherings of more than two people and said police will have the power to fine people who do not obey by the rules.

Taunton’s streets, which are usually packed with shoppers, cars and workers, were empty.

Yeovil Express:

Castle Green in Taunton is usually bustling but today it was empty

With gatherings of more than two prohibited, just a handful of people were spotted walking around as more and more people started to work from home.

Social distancing measures were in place as people queued up to use a bank in the town centre.

Yeovil Express:

Residents stand two meters apart as they queue up to use a bank in North Street, Taunton

It was a similar story in Chard today.

Many streets were empty and social distancing measures were in place at supermarkets, shops and banks with people leaving a safe space between them while queuing up.

Yeovil Express:

People queue up in line to use a shop in Chard's town centre

In Bridgwater streets were almost empty but shops selling essential items such as food and medicines were still open in the town, including Angel Place shopping centre.

Yeovil Express:

A man walks through Bridgwater's empty streets

The iconic statue of Robert Blake was also protected after a prankster placed a gas mask on it in the town centre.

A spokesperson for Angel Place Shopping Centre, said: “Following the continued development of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, and in line with government restrictions, the centre remains open for essential goods and services only. The centre’s toilet facilities have also been closed and the car park is operating with card-only payments during this time.

“The health of our retailers, centre teams and visitors is paramount and we are working hard to ensure people are being supported wherever possible. We ask all our customers to shop sensitively and respectively, and follow the social distancing guidelines. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this challenging time.”

Seaside towns have also suffered.

On Monday Burnham-on-Sea's streets were almost empty with only a few people going out to get basic supplies.

Yeovil Express:

Shops in Burnham-on-Sea have closed.

A number of businesses across Somerset are still offering delivery services despite closing their doors to customers and communities have pulled together to help those in need - for a list of food outlets turn to page 60.

The new measures are the most stringent in peacetime Britain and reflect what Mr Johnson said was a “moment of national emergency” and “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades.”

In a speech to the nation on Monday, the Prime Minister said: “No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this. I know the damage that this disruption is doing ... yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.”