The impact of the Government’s shutdown on pubs and club was plain to see in Barnstaple on Saturday night.

A sign outside Fever in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartA sign outside Fever in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

The usual weekend revellers were substituted for empty streets and closed doors throughout the town centre.

Saturday was the first night of new measures which saw pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants, among other venues, closed to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

An empty Boutport Street on the first night of the shutdown of pubs and clubs. Picture: Matt SmartAn empty Boutport Street on the first night of the shutdown of pubs and clubs. Picture: Matt Smart

The impact was clear to see in the town’s usual Saturday night hotspots – where you would be mistaken for thinking it was a quiet weekday evening.

The usual crowds and cars along The Strand, Boutport Street and outside Fever in Queen Street were nowhere to be seen as people heeded Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plea to stay indoors.

An empty Boutport Street on the first night of the shutdown of pubs and clubs. Picture: Matt SmartAn empty Boutport Street on the first night of the shutdown of pubs and clubs. Picture: Matt Smart

A message left outside the Fever nightclub said ‘sorry we are closed, but don’t worry, we will be back soon!’

Mr Johnson announced the measures on Friday evening at the daily Covid-19 press conference at Downing Street.

The usual crowds in and around Lilico's were gone on the first night of the Government's shutdown to pubs and clubs. Picture: Matt SmartThe usual crowds in and around Lilico's were gone on the first night of the Government's shutdown to pubs and clubs. Picture: Matt Smart

He said: “I do accept that what we’re doing is extraordinary - we’re taking away the ancient inalienable right of freeborn people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub.

“And I can understand how people feel about that.

Fever in Barnstaple on the first night of the pub and club shutdown. Picture: Matt SmartFever in Barnstaple on the first night of the pub and club shutdown. Picture: Matt Smart

“But I say to people who do go against the advice that we’re getting, the very clear advice that we’re getting from our medical and scientific experts, you know you’re not only putting your own life, the lives of your family, at risk - you’re endangering the community.

“And you’re making it more difficult for us to get on and protect the NHS and save lives.

Takeaways are allowed to remain open during the shutdown. Picture: Matt SmartTakeaways are allowed to remain open during the shutdown. Picture: Matt Smart

“And if you comply, if people comply as I say, then we will not only save lives, thousands of lives, but we’ll come out of this thing all the faster.”

The Panniers in Barnstaple on the first night of the shutdown of pubs and clubs. Picture: Matt SmartThe Panniers in Barnstaple on the first night of the shutdown of pubs and clubs. Picture: Matt Smart

Scott Cinema closed its doors on Wednesday. Picture: Matt SmartScott Cinema closed its doors on Wednesday. Picture: Matt Smart

The streets outside The Tavern in Barnstaple were empty on the first night of the shutdown. Picture: Matt SmartThe streets outside The Tavern in Barnstaple were empty on the first night of the shutdown. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Bus Station was quiet on the first night of the shutdown. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple Bus Station was quiet on the first night of the shutdown. Picture: Matt Smart