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Lockdown eased in Leicester – but some restrictions must remain as city tackles coronavirus

Published on Friday, July 31, 2020

Granby St

HAIRDRESSERS, cinemas, places of worship, cafés, bars and restaurants will be able to open in Leicester from Monday (3 August) as infection rates in the city continue to decline.

The Government's review of Leicester’s lockdown has led to the following changes to restrictions in the city:

  • You can meet up to five people from outside your household in parks and open spaces, keeping 2m apart
  • You can go on day trips and make non-essential journeys from today (Friday)
  • You can go on holiday with people you live with from Monday (3 August)
  • You can visit a hairdresser, café, bar, cinema or restaurant from Monday (3 August)
  • You can meet up to five people from other households in a beer garden or other outdoor hospitality setting from Monday (3 August), as long as you keep 2m apart
  • You can go to a place of worship for collective worship from Monday (3 August)

but

  • You cannot visit family or friends inside their homes or in their gardens
  • You cannot stay overnight in another person’s home, unless you’ve formed a bubble with them
  • You cannot meet up with anyone from outside your household inside a café, bar or restaurant

The Government announced late last night (Thursday) that the city’s progress in tackling a spike in coronavirus cases justified a gradual easing of restrictions, with the local infection rate now less than half what it was in late June.

But with the number of positive results in Leicester still high, with 59 per 100,000 in the seven days to 25 July, some measures must stay in place to prevent the disease from spreading – and to ensure that the infection rate continues to come down.

Director of public health Ivan Browne said: “What we’re seeing in Leicester is the transmission of the virus between households.

“In some cases, this is because individuals are showing no symptoms of the disease and therefore aren’t aware of the risk they pose.

“That’s why restrictions on meeting up with other households indoors, and visiting friends and families in their homes, will have to remain in place for a while longer in Leicester.

“I appreciate this is hard to do, and I want to thank everyone who’s followed the guidance and stayed away from their friends and family’s homes for all these months, but we need to keep doing what we’re doing to stop this virus from being passed on.

“The good news is that the sacrifices we’re all making are paying off, as infection rates are continuing to fall.

“My message remains the same: please don’t visit other people’s homes; work from home if you can; keep social distancing; keep practising good hand hygiene; get a test at the first sign of coronavirus symptoms and, most importantly, please stay at home and self-isolate for at least 10 days if you test positive for coronavirus – and make sure others in your household quarantine for 14 days to stop the virus from spreading.

“If we can do this, and bring the infection rate right down, we will be in a much better position as we head towards winter.”

With the festivals of Eid-Al-Adha taking place today (Friday 31 July) and Raksha Bandhan on Monday (3 August), families in Leicester are being urged to celebrate safely at home, and not to meet up with family and friends.

The Government has said that households in Leicester and some other parts of the country should not meet up, even in gardens.

Assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods Cllr Kirk Master said: “As a Muslim myself, I know that we’d normally share these special occasions with our extended families and our closest friends. But this year, it’s just not possible to do that in person.

“Join your family via a video call, or speak to them on the phone, and please follow the guidelines. The best way to show how much we care for our families, our friends and our community is to celebrate safely at home.”

Assistant city mayor for equalities Cllr Rita Patel said: “Families across the city will be marking the festival of Raksha Bandhan on Monday. This is a time to celebrate the relationship between brothers and sisters and families.

“Unfortunately it will not be possible for people to visit each other’s houses to tie Rakhis this year in the same way they usually would, so I would urge everyone to show their love for their family by celebrating in their own home, and only with those they live with.”

Places of worship in the city will continue to be open for private prayer only, until the restrictions are lifted on Monday (3 August).

Also on Monday (3 August), restrictions on overnight stays away from home will be lifted, which means that people will be able to go away on holiday. However, people will not be able to stay with another household where they do travel – unless they've already formed a bubble with them.

Gyms, swimming pools, museums, libraries and leisure centres will remain closed in Leicester for the time being.

Restrictions on travel in and out of the city, however, have now been lifted so people can make day trips and any non-essential journeys. Visiting other people’s homes, and overnight stays with other households, however, is not permitted.

The Government has said it will review the situation in Leicester by Thursday 13 August.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “What is now planned for Leicester is the approach we should have adopted four weeks ago.

“We needed the data – which we are at least beginning to get – to identify where the infection rates are high in the city.

“We are now able to use a targeted approach to help those households and neighbourhoods affected to contain the virus. This is so much better than a clumsy, city-wide lockdown.”

In the seven days to 24 July, there were 228 cases in Leicester. Last month, in the seven days to 24 June, there were 556 cases.

Continuing restrictions and changes to restrictions confirmed today (Friday) are summarised below:

YOU CAN:

  • Meet up to five people from outside your household outdoors (not in private gardens), keeping 2m apart
  • From now: go on day trips and make non-essential journeys
  • From Monday (3 August): go on holiday with people you live with
  • From Monday (3 August): visit a hairdresser, café, bar or restaurant. Cinemas are also able to reopen. Remember to wear a mask and to respect social distancing rules.
  • From Monday (3 August): go to a place of worship for collective worship

YOU CANNOT:

  • visit family or friends inside their homes or in their gardens
  • stay overnight in another person’s home, unless you’ve formed a bubble with them
  • meet up with anyone from outside your household inside a café, bar or restaurant
  • use a gym, a swimming pool or a play area. These remain closed for the time being

The Government’s guide to what you can and cannot do in Leicester is available here

Answers to some frequently asked questions are available on the city council’s website

Anyone noticing the first signs of coronavirus – which could include a high temperature, a continuous cough or changes to their sense of taste or smell  – must stay at home and arrange a test immediately.

Anyone who has been in contact with someone with symptoms should get themselves tested urgently too.

To book a test at a testing centre in Leicester, go to www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or call 119.

Following new guidance from the Chief Medical Officer, anyone testing positive for Covid-19 must now self-isolate at home for at least 10 days, or until their symptoms have gone.

Anyone living in the same household as someone who tests positive must stay at home for 14 days to stop the virus from spreading.

Advice for everyone in Leicester remains as follows:

  • Stay 2m apart from anyone outside of your household
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Limit your contact with other people
  • Wear a face covering on buses, in shops, in hospitals and in any confined space
  • Don’t meet up with other people in their homes or gardens
  • Book a test and self-isolate as soon as symptoms appear at nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test
  • No internet access? Call 119 to book your test
  • If you test positive, continue to stay at home for at least 10 days and until you feel better
  • Members of your household should stay at home for 14 days

ends