Non-essential retail placed back into lockdown in Leicester
Non-essential retail will be placed back into lockdown in Leicester due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city.
Stores in England were permitted to re-open from 15 June but will be forced to close in Leicester for at least two weeks after which time the decision will be reviewed.
The infection rate of coronavirus in Leicester is now three times higher than the national average at 135 per 100,000 people with hospital admissions at between six and 10 per day, which is also higher than the rest of the country.
Leicester's Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby had opposed extending the city's lockdown leading to a delay in the expected announcement this evening.
However Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed the move and the residents of the city have been told to stay at home as much as possible and non-essential shops have been ordered to close tomorrow (30 June).
Hancock said: "Given the growing outbreak in Leicester, we cannot recommend that the easing of the national lockdown set to take place on 4 July happens in Leicester.
"Having taken clinical advice on the actions necessary and discussed them with the local team in Leicester and Leicestershire, we have made some difficult but important decisions.
"We’ve decided that from tomorrow, non-essential retail will have to close and 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.
"Unfortunately, the clinical advice is that the relaxation of shielding measures due on 6 July cannot now take place in Leicester.
"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.
"We’ll monitor closely adhering to social distancing rules and we’ll take further steps if that is what’s necessary."
Elsewhere in England hairdressers and hospitality venues, such as pubs and restaurants, are due to open from 4 July with some international travel to be permitted from 6 July.
Non-essential retail was opened in Wales last Monday and today in Scotland.