Leicester lockdown: industry reacts
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Industry firms in the Leicester area have reacted to news that lockdown measures at the city are being extended due to a spike in Covid-19 cases.
Yesterday evening (29 June) health secretary Matt Hancock announced that Leicester and its surrounding area would be asked to continue with the current national restrictions for an additional fortnight from 4 July.
He said that the city had registered 10% of all cases in the country over the past week.
Non-essential shops that had reopened on 15 June have been asked to close from today. Bars, restaurants and hairdressers will not reopen on 4 July, and shielding measures that were set to be relaxed on 6 July will remain in place.
Schools will close from 2 July except to vulnerable children and children of key workers, and will not reopen until next term.
Citizens are being asked to remain at home as much as possible and to maintain two metre social distancing.
The Leicester area is home to a number of printing business and has appeal thanks to its central location and proximity to the M1.
Industry bosses said the new restrictions would not affect their ability to maintain production.
“We will continue the way we have been operating for the last 12 weeks as we have successfully developed and established safe systems of work, so very much ‘business as usual’ for us,” said Go Inspire Group chief executive Patrick Headley.
“We will maintain the current 2m social distancing rule on site (we’d already decided not to reduce this), continue to have many colleagues working from home where possible, provide PPE and sanitiser wherever needed and ensure we look after the safety and wellbeing of all of our colleagues and service our clients’ needs in tandem.”
Jamie Court, managing director at Clinical Print Finishers, said the measures could be viewed as being “over the top” but it was important to keep the spread of the virus under control.
“I think it may be over the top, however it is best to be safe to protect the community. Although we are in the city centre we are not in the directly affected areas and as we do pharmaceutical work our staff already work in segregated bays so social distancing is quite simple for us,” he said.
“We have kept working through the pandemic as we are key to the supply chain. Our message is Leicester is still open for business in print,” he added.
Jason King, director of Hyphen in Narborough, which is also the Nettl of Leicester business, said that it had been frustrating not knowing precisely what area would be affected.
Leicester City Council has just published a map of where the restrictions will apply. The situation will be reviewed in a fortnight.
“With all of the lockdown my main complaint of the government is the lack of forward planning that it could give business. We are constantly having to second guess what is going to happen and that is not great for businesses. With all things, if we know where we stand we can plan and act on it, it is the unknown that makes running a business virtually impossible to get right,” King said.
“It is very frustrating but no surprise. The virus has not gone away and is increasing in certain areas of the world so it is very likely that these localised spread of the virus will happen partially as overseas travel restrictions are lifted. We are going to have to live with these issues until a vaccine is available in large quantities.”
Leicester is the biggest city in the East Midlands and has a population of more than 300,000.