How long will the Leicester lockdown last and what are the rules?
16 July 2020, 17:17 | Updated: 16 July 2020, 17:47
Leicester became the first area in the UK to be put into local lockdown last week.
On 29 June, it was announced that Leicester would be be placed under strict lockdown measures after a spike of coronavirus cases in the area.
As part of the government's 'Whack-A-Mole' strategy, shutdown rules can be reimposed in areas that see an increase in the Covid-19 infection rate - and Leicester is the first of these.
Announcing the plans in the House of Commons on Monday of last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Having taken clinical advice on the actions necessary, and having discussed them with the local team in Leicester and Leicestershire, we've made some difficult but important decisions.
"We've decided that from tomorrow, non-essential retail will have to close."
He added: "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."
When will the Leicester lockdown end?
On Thursday 16 July, Matt Hancock announced a gradual easing of some lockdown measures in Leicester will take place from 24 July.
He said that some schools, early years centres and shops will be allowed to open, but businesses in the hospitality industry will have to keep closed.
The Health Secretary said: "Thanks to the incredible efforts of people in Leicester, we are now in a position to relax some - but not all - of the restrictions that are in place.
"From 24 July, we will be removing restrictions on schools and early years, and having a more targeted approach on non essential retail."
He added that there will be a local power to close retail businesses where necessary, and added that "other restrictions like those with travel and only social gatherings for up to 6 people will remain in force."
What are the current Leicester lockdown rules?
While the rest of the UK is gradually easing lockdown measures, Leicester reintroduced more stringent rules that include:
- Closing non-essential shops
- Closing schools (except for the kids of key workers)
- Residents being told to stay at home as much as possible
- Banning non-essential travel in and out of the area
- Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers not being allowed to reopen on July 4
When announcing the lockdown, Mr Hancock also said: "Unfortunately, the clinical advice is that the relaxation of shielding measures due on July 6 can not now take place in Leicester.
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"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."
"The more people that follow the rules, the quicker we will get hold of this virus and get Leicester back to normal."