Leicester lockdown laws come into force banning non-essential shops, pubs and overnight stays

3 July 2020, 21:33

Local lockdown laws in Leicester are set to come into effect
Local lockdown laws in Leicester are set to come into effect. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

Strict new coronavirus laws for Leicester have been rushed through Parliament after the city became the UK’s first to enter local lockdown.

Gatherings of more than six people, overnight stays, and the opening of hotels, pubs and non-essential shops will all be banned.

The sweeping new legislation comes into force on Saturday, with those who repeatedly flout the rules risking a £3,200 fine for six or more breaches.

Leicester became the first locked-down city on Monday following a surge of coronavirus cases.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the East Midlands city accounted for around 10 per cent of Britain’s Covid-19 cases in the past fortnight.

It comes as the rest of England prepares to reopen pubs, restaurants, cafes and hair salons on Saturday in the next wave of lockdown easing.

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Leicestershire Police said earlier that it will have more officers on duty than a typical New Year’s Eve to enforce the rules, while the city's hospitals are also bracing for a busy weekend.

British Transport Police officers have also been carrying out spot checks at Leicester rail station to stop people travelling within, to or from the city for non-essential reasons.

Under the new powers, people in the city are now banned from visiting other households indoors or in private gardens.

However, those who live on their own, or single parents of those aged below 18, can still form a social bubble with one other household.

Non-essential businesses, such as cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, museums, gyms, nail salons and hairdressers, must remain closed unless they are hosting blood donations.

But exceptions are made for cafes and canteens at hospitals, care homes, prisons and military bases, as well as supermarkets, off-licences, pharmacies, banks, homeware stores, post offices and garden centres.

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Police will be able to hand out fines beginning at £100 and rising on a sliding scale for repeat offenders, similar to the 18,000 penalties issued in England and Wales before lockdown restrictions were eased nationally.

Leicestershire Police said: "We will be directing people to follow the regulations and encouraging to them to follow the guidelines."

"We want people to stay at home in the protected area and if you are outside of this to be responsible and socialise safely."

The rules are to be reviewed every two weeks, with the first review due on 18 July.

As well as the city of Leicester, the lockdown area includes parts of Leicestershire that touch on the city’s boundaries, including parts of Blaby District and Charnwood in the county.