The crosswalk is typically flooded with tourists.

By Cailey Rizzo
March 31, 2020

One of the world’s most famous crosswalks is taking care of some long-overdue housekeeping during the COVID-19 lockdown.

London’s Abbey Road crosswalk, where the Beatles posed for their “Abbey Road” album cover more than 50 years ago, got a paint touch-up while the street was tourist-free.

The Instagram account for Abbey Road Studios shared a photograph over the weekend of workers repainting the white stripes as, "the streets have gone quiet."

The crosswalk is typically flooded with tourists waiting for a break in traffic (or not) to strut across and have their picture taken like one of the Fab Four.

But as London locks down to combat the spread of coronavirus, the streets are empty due to a ban on non-essential travel — and Abbey Road is no exception. Over 22,400 people in the United Kingdom including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles have tested positive for the virus.

“This is a very busy zebra crossing and we repainted the line markings to ensure visibility and increased safety for drivers and pedestrians,” a spokesperson for the Westminster City Council told The Guardian. “Our contractors follow government advice on limiting the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing and hand washing.”

Every three months, the walls near the crosswalk are repainted to cover up the graffiti Beatles fans leave, according to the BBC. But it’s much more difficult to paint the road. Not only is it necessary to contend with 24/7 visitors but the cars that use Abbey Road on a daily basis.

You can see the street’s new bright whites in action on the live Abbey Road webcam.

Highways Maintenance team at Abbey Road
Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images

In 2010, the government designated the crossing as a site of national importance by the British government. It can only be altered with the approval of local authorities. “This London zebra crossing is no castle or cathedral but, thanks to the Beatles and a 10-minute photoshoot one August morning in 1969, it has just as strong a claim as any to be seen as part of our heritage,” John Penrose, the minister for tourism and heritage, said at the time, according to Reuters.

Last year, the studio built a backdrop where tourists could recreate the “Abbey Road” album art without blocking the street to celebrate its 50-year anniversary.