July 10, 2020

Coronavirus: Shock in Leicester as city placed in UK's first local lockdown

June 29, 2020

The tables have all been moved so they are two metres away from each other and the brewery has been on the phone asking when to deliver the beer.

But the owner of the Chutney Ivy Restaurant and Bar in Leicester is having to ask his suppliers to pause the orders he's made in order to be ready to open on Saturday.

Shafiqul Islam has customers booked in and has brought staff back from furlough in preparation to reopen.

Now it's been delayed, he feels the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off.

"I'm just gobsmacked," he says.

"I mean, what else can we do? We've just prepared following the government guidelines, but this is just another little explosion that's just happened. A little bomb has just gone off for our business.

"We're in the hospitality trade that's been absolutely decimated so far so I really don't know what to make of it."

Many people in Leicester only heard there had been a spike in cases of COVID-19 in their city through the media. It's certainly not something people seem particularly concerned about.

In fact, it came as news to the city's mayor, Peter Soulsby, when Health Secretary Matt Hancock spoke about a surge in cases in Leicester at the government press conference on 18 June.

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Many in the the city need persuading that the extension to Leicester's lockdown will reduce the number of coronavirus cases in the city.

"I don't see why we can't open as normal," a worker at one pub said. "It's only the same as people going to the shops. None of it makes any sense."

The government has made it clear local lockdowns will be used to contain outbreaks of the coronavirus - but many in Leicester say they feel their city is being used as a test case.

How happy will people be to follow rules that are no longer in place in neighbouring towns and cities? And if people choose to ignore restrictions will it be possible to enforce them?

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