Leicester lockdown: Oadby ‘guilty by association’

Scott Drake

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Scott Drake thinks people will just ‘go down the road’ to avoid lockdown

Leicester has become the first place in the UK to be put under a local coronavirus lockdown.

Attention has mostly been focused on the city itself, but what of the suburbs on its fringes?

Oadby, a town to the south east of Leicester, has come into closer proximity with the city due to the steady expansion of both and is included in the lockdown area.

Do Oadby’s residents feel this is justified? Are they optimistic about the future? Do they feel part of the city or look to the county?

Scott Drake, 42, owner of S and J Fruit and Veg, with a stall the town’s market, said: “When I heard the news I thought oh no, not again.

“But I think they need to lock down the whole of Leicestershire properly. The problem is the government is playing about with everyone.

“They’re saying to people in Oadby, you stay in but to people in Stoughton (a village about two miles away), you go and get a haircut and a pint.

“So what’s this lockdown going to do? Because Mavis in Oadby is going to just go to Stoughton to have her beer and get her hair done.”

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Former local council leader Michael Griffiths feels Oadby is “guilty by association”

Former local council leader Michael Griffiths, 72, said: “I think it’s sensible but shows the whole country should have been left for another two or three weeks.

“I understand Oadby hasn’t had a major problem but it’s guilty by association,” said Mr Griffiths, an Oadby resident since he was 15.

“I was surprised at first when I heard it was included but thinking about it, we are pretty close to the city.

“I can see why it needs to be done.”

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Hassan Ali, manager of a restaurant in Oadby, says the new lockdown is “a bit of a blow’

Hassan Ali, is general manager of Tipu Sultan, a restaurant in the town.

He said: “We were excited to reopen on Saturday; everyone wants some freedom. We were 100% sure we definitely would and were about 70% of the way through preparations.

“We thought it would just be Leicester so when he said Oadby that was a shock.

“We were upset when we heard the news, it was a bit of a blow; when you’re that close to something there’s a bit of frustration when it’s cancelled.

“But we have to do it. Health and safety is the most important thing.”

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Michelle Zviuya said she had been looking forward to seeing friends

Michelle Zviuya, a 30-year-old healthcare assistant at Leicester Royal Infirmary, had been hoping Oadby would not be included.

“It’s not that I was dying for a pint,” she said. “But I was meant to be meeting a friend and her little one who I’ve not seen since November. But she’s on the other side of the boundary.

“I didn’t think it would be here too; they need to show us the figures for the area instead of just the whole of Leicester.

“But it is what it is. It’s only two weeks.”

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Rupen Popat: “If it’s needed it’s needed”

Another resident, 31-year-old Rupen Popat, said he had thought it was “inevitable” they would be on lockdown if Leicester was too, as people like him travel in and out of the city for work. However, he said it felt a bit odd his barber was opening just a 30-minute drive away but he was not allowed to visit.

He said: “I understand people’s frustrations – I can’t wait for the pub either – but if it’s needed it’s needed.”

Mary Jackson, 70 (not photographed), has been shielding and believes it was the right thing to do.

She said: “I’m frightened to go out. I’ve got used to this lockdown, I don’t know how I can go back to how it was.

“I think it’s fair what they’re doing, but I suppose it’s a bit mean for the people who can go out. It’s a difficult one.”

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