A local lockdown has been imposed on Leicester after a recent spike in coronavirus cases in the city, forcing local shops and business that had just reopened and started trading again after months of lockdown to close again.
The situation comes as the rest of England prepares to ease restrictions on places of social gathering such as pubs and restaurants from July 4. Following the reopen of local shops again on June 15th allowing them to start recovering from the lockdown. The SME club has launched a campaign to #saveourshops as these local lockdowns are predicted to happen across the UK and many SMEs will be affected without necessarily having the government support that they had at original lockdown.
Many local and small retail outlets are in arrears with rent as they have been unable to trade again since lockdown and now the landlords are expecting payment even though they have barely had time to build up any sort of revenue stream.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that non-essential shops in Leicester will close from today and schools will shut to most pupils from Thursday.
Hancock said Leicester’s seven-day infection rate is 135 cases per 100,000, which is three times higher than next highest city, and the city accounted for around 10 per cent of all positive cases in the country over the past week.
The Health Secretary advised people from Leicester to stay at home as much as they can while the local lockdown measures continue.
“We’ve decided that from tomorrow, non-essential retail will have to close and as children have been particularly impacted by this outbreak, schools will also need to close from Thursday, staying open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers as they did throughout,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the clinical advice is that the relaxation of shielding measures due on July 6 cannot now take place in Leicester.
“We recommend to people in Leicester, stay at home as much as you can, and we recommend against all but essential travel to, from and within Leicester.
“We’ll monitor closely adhering to social distancing rules and we’ll take further steps if that is what’s necessary.”
The measures are to be kept under review and will not be kept in place “any longer than is necessary”.
“We’ll review if we can release any of the measures in two weeks,” Hancock said.
The City of Leicester is regarded as the most populous municipality in the East Midlands region and its associated urban area is the 13th most populous in the UK.