Local lockdowns: what are they and how will they work?

Lockdown restrictions are due to be scaled for businesses including pubs, hairdressers and restaurants on Saturday (July 4), however it is possible that strict measures could be put back in place on a regional basis if coronavirus cases rise again in certain areas.

Monday, 29th June 2020, 5:56 pm

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month said that regional flare-ups of the virus in England would result in "local lockdown", and the first one of these could be put into place to prevent businesses reopening on July 4 in certain areas.

Mr Hancock told a Downing Street briefing there would be "local lockdowns in the future" with the Joint Biosecurity Centre having a "response function" that could address local spikes in infections, in partnership with local public health agencies.

He has said that under local lockdowns schools, businesses or workplaces could be closed in areas with a high prevalence of infection.

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Sheffield 9 weeks into the lockdown. Still empty before some restrictions are eased.

The first example of a local lockdown could happen in Leicester, where pubs, restaurants and hairdressers may be forced to stay closed for an extra two weeks, the city’s mayor has suggested. This potential lockdown extension follows a rise of 688 coronavirus cases in Leicester in the last fortnight.

When and why would a local lockdown be enforced?

PHE said there was no threshold for determining when a local lockdown should be implemented.

Advice will be given on a case-by-case basis and decisions taken by leaders based on this advice and the specific circumstances of the area, it added.

Who will enforce it?

The responsibility for enforcing local lockdowns will lie with local h authorities, who, along with PHE, will use powers to contain local outbreaks such as closing public spaces, businesses and venues.

However Greg Fell, Director of Public Health in Sheffield, told a committee of MPs earlier this month that local public health authorities did not have the power to shut down local areas or whole cities.

Any powers to lock down communities would need to be conferred to local leaders, he told the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

But he warned that if a city needed to be placed into lockdown "we may well be in national lockdown territory by that time".