Coronavirus restrictions were tightened across the country on Wednesday, but people in Leicester have been on a tougher level of lockdown for months. How are people in the city coping?
Pubs and restaurants are open again, the school term has begun and people have tentatively started to return to work.
People here have lived with tougher restrictions for longer than anywhere else in the country and it is still not clear when they will be finally be allowed to meet people in their own homes again.
“I just want to have a cup of tea in the kitchen with my mum,” said Yvonne Bloor, who lives in the city.
She feels the continuing restrictions are preventing her from spending time with her mother who lives in North Yorkshire.
“She’s had a hip replacement, she’s got diabetes, she’s semi-invalid,” she added.
“If she were to die before I see her again, I don’t know how bitter I’m going to feel.”
Leicester residents are able to form support bubbles with other households, provided they live alone or are a single-parent household.
And many in the city have found ways to live with the extra restrictions. Families can be seen exercising together in parks and more outdoor seating has been set up.
But there is some underlying resentment among residents.
Jamarn Clarke, 26, said: “The fact that you can’t see your parents [in their homes] but you can go into a pub gives the message as long as it contributes to the economy it’s fine.”
Indira Nath, 80, believes the stricter local restrictions worked well to begin with but believes they have been undermined by the fact people can still travel.
“I think a number of people have been wondering off on holiday abroad and bringing it back,” she said.
Hospital admissions in Leicester, along with the number of coronavirus cases and deaths, were brought down during the local lockdown – imposed on 30 June – but have started to rise in recent weeks.
The city’s mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said he believed it was action by the local council “rather than the sledgehammer of the local lockdown” which brought down cases.
He said: “I don’t think the rather crude way [the lockdown] was introduced or the range of measures were effective.
“What has made the difference was when, after a lot of struggle, we were able to get the details of where it was in the community and we at a local level could intervene to encourage and inform people.”
The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for a response.
With the number of coronavirus cases increasing daily, Ali Gerged, 35, who works at De Montfort University, thinks people in the city are starting to panic about having more limits put on their freedom.
“Everyone is now thinking, ‘Let’s go out enjoy the weather before the next lockdown,'” he said. “We didn’t have enough of hanging out and enjoying a next-to-normal life [like other parts of the country].”
But restaurant worker Joanna Lesniak, 21, said she believed the local restrictions were working and welcomed the national measures, despite losing her job during the first lockdown.
“It’s about our health, and you can’t put a price on that,” she said.
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