Schools and shops to reopen in Leicester as Matt Hancock announces an easing of some lockdown measures
16 July 2020, 17:30 | Updated: 16 July 2020, 17:47
Leicester became the first area in the UK to be put into local lockdown last month, and Matt Hancock has now given an update on restrictions.
Matt Hancock has announced that some lockdown restrictions in Leicester will be eased from July 24, and schools and some shops will be allowed to reopen.
Speaking in the House of Commons today (16 July), the Health Secretary thanked residents for their 'perseverance' and added there will be a 'careful easing' of lockdown measures later this month.
Schools, early years centres and some non-essential retail businesses will be allowed to reopen, but hospitality businesses that were able to open in the rest of the UK on 4 July - such as pubs - must remain closed for now.
He 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.
Mr Hancock continued: "From 24 July we will be removing restrictions on schools and early years", and added that they would be taking a 'more targeted approach' on non essential retail, allowing local powers to close them when necessary.
He added that restrictions on travel will stay, and the rule on social gatherings for up to six people will remain in force.
Mr Hancock said of the Leicester lockdown: "Some say the local lockdown is unnecessary - I wish this were true.
"It is vital for the city and the rest of the country that the restrictions remain in place.
"We will review them again in a fortnight.
"I hope this careful easing provides some comfort to the people of Leicester and Leicestershire."
He first announced that Leicester would be going into lockdown on 29 June, saying: "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.
"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."