‘Back to staying home and saving lives’: What it’s like in Leicester’s local lockdown
We are living in a lockdown bubble
As the majority of UK cities are set have lockdown restrictions eased on July 4th, Leicester has become the first city to be placed under an official local lockdown. The city currently accounts for 10 per cent of all UK Covid-19 infections, leading the government to impose an April style lockdown from this week until a review on July 18th. The rest of the country will enjoy the reopening of pubs, cinemas and hairdressers but the message for us living in a local lockdown is simple: stay at home.
The first of many speculated local lockdowns, it’s hard to understand what restrictions have returned and what is expected of us. Within 12 hours of the announcement a border had been published by the government enclosing the city and dividing the rest of the county. For all of us living within the infection zone, we’ve gone back to lockdown square one for the next two weeks.
In preparation for local lockdowns elsewhere in the country, here is what we can and can’t do in Leicester.
You can still meet friends and family
Local lockdown still allows you to meet in a group of six with friends or family, but this must be outdoors only. Social distancing must be in place at all times abiding by the two metre rule with anyone you meet outside of your household. You must be able to walk to meet whoever is in this group and not travel in your car to other villages or areas within the red zone if it can be helped. However single adult households are still allowed to form a support bubble with one other household.
You can’t travel or go on holiday
Unlike the current UK rules, for those of us living within the government drawn boundary you’re not supposed to be travelling out of the city. Any travel has to be essential for work or emergencies. It also means that if you’re from Leicester and you’d booked a holiday for July even in the UK, you can no longer go. You also shouldn’t be travelling within the red zone anywhere you can’t get to on your walk, the government advises that everyone keeps within their village or town. Even if your family lives across the boundary, the Government deems this as a non-essential trip.
Official map of lockdown area in Leicester.
Areas affected are within the red boundary.
— COVID-19 Leicester (@CovidLeics) June 30, 2020
Stay at home
In a local lockdown staying alert doesn’t cut it anymore, its back to staying at home and saving lives. Everything is closed again anyway so many people that had gone back to work in retail are now being told to stay at home once again. Schools in the city and county have been closed as of today and won’t be reopening until September, meaning siblings that had gone back to school are back e-learning from home. It feels like we’re back to the March style lockdown, after traffic had slowly been back on the rise, today the roads were pretty empty once more. The city centres car parking signs now display the “stay at home, save lives” slogan.
Everything is closed again, apart from essential shops
Non-essential businesses have had to close, meaning much of the high street is shut again. Instead of being able to go for browse in the shops, you’re only supposed to be out if you’re buying food or essentials just like in the original lock down. So its back to ordering off Amazon or ASOS for a little while longer. This includes cafes, clothing retail and pretty much anything that isn’t selling food, hardware or medicines.
UK-wide lockdown restriction lifting will not apply to you
Whilst the rest of the UK will be enjoying pubs and other lock down restriction lifts, none of the UK agenda will apply to your local lockdown. Everything that was due to return on July 4th will not apply to Leicester, and anything that opens just outside of the red zone will not be welcoming anybody living within the line to visit. This also applies to anyone who has been asked to shield by the NHS, in local lockdown the ending of shielding on July 6th will not be taking place. It probably also means the city will now be a few weeks behind every other city in the UK, with no date set to allow anything to be able to reopen again.
You’ll have to provide ID to prove you’re not from an affected area everywhere else in Leicester
In solidarity with residents in lockdown areas, many pubs and hairdressers have decided not to reopen (not to mention how hard this is to enforce). However some businesses have had no choice but to reopen and they’re asking for ID or proof of address to keep their customers safe from rising infection rates. My dad whom lives just out of the boundary can go to the pub for dinner, yet as I live literally metres inside the boundary my address would not be accepted.
Golf courses have similarly followed suit saying members from lockdown addresses are not welcome until lockdown is lifted. Whilst fines aren’t yet in place, residents trying to leave Leicester risk being fined or turned back if they try to leave. The police force in neighbouring Nottingham have confirmed that they will be monitoring people trying to enter the city from Leicester areas to turn them away.
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