This week Leicester has been firmly in the eye of the storm. After it was announced on Monday that the City was to be put into local lockdown there was an understandable clamour for information on what that meant in practice.
It rapidly became evident that, as the first localised lockdown we were, and still are, the pathfinders. Amazingly we were not even provided with a map of the area until well after the announcement. Finally, the map emerged, probably causing more confusion as to who was in, or out, of the protection area. A postcode checker was rapidly produced.
In one fell swoop, it divided people into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Guidance on who could do what was minimal. Some families saw friends and relatives looking forward to a weekend of increased freedom, while they and others cancelled their holiday plans yet again.
The promised Statutory Instrument, providing the blueprint on what you can and can’t do, was produced on Thursday evening.
It’s clear from the data – when that was belatedly provided - that this new lockdown is justified. Public health comes first and I urge everyone to follow the guidelines to protect each other and save lives.
But I have a great deal of sympathy with all the agencies charged with delivery. They needed clarity from the outset and I am astonished that it has been drip-fed as the week has progressed. Our local authorities have worked hard to provide as much information in as many different ways as possible, but they have had to do so from a standing start.
As the week has gone on I was disgusted to see that far right extremists have leapt on this latest crisis in a bid to cause more division and discrimination. How people can use a health crisis such as this for such a repugnant purpose says more about the mindset than any words.
Leicestershire Police has been applauded for the sensible way in which it policed the initial lockdown. This time will be no different. They will continue to use the four Es (Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforce).
There will a lot of VERY VISIBLE policing over the coming days. But actually, if we are responsible, if we pull together and think of each other, we will also protect ourselves and our families.
I’m urging people in the protection areas to stay at home as much as they can. I’m hoping that everyone will act responsibly, wherever they live. Please, abide by the social distancing guidance. It will help to save lives – and livelihoods.
Let us all hope that two weeks will be enough to contain the spread. I urge everyone to pull together once again to stay safe. If that means washing hands even more, avoiding all but essential travel, social distancing and postponing a visit to the barbershop, then so be it.
4 July 2020
Posted on Saturday 4th July 2020