In collaboration with local leaders, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has agreed to ease certain restrictions in Leicester.
Nail bars, beauty salons, tanning booths and salons, spas and beauty salons, massage parlours, tattoo parlours, body and skin piercing services, and outdoor pools can lawfully reopen from tomorrow (19 August). This will bring Leicester in line with the national easements introduced on 11 and 13 July.
Outdoor music venues and theatres are already legally allowed to reopen, but will now also be removed from guidance that recommended they stay closed.
The Goverment says that thanks to the concerted efforts of the local communities, enough progress has been made to allow these easements. Infection rates remain too high to be fully lifted, so a restriction on gatherings will continue, in line with Greater Manchester, and parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire. Gatherings will not be permitted in private homes and gardens.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
"My gratitude goes out to the people of Leicester who have all made sacrifices to keep the virus at bay and protect their local communities.
"The rate of infection has now dropped to a safe enough level to allow further businesses including beauty salons, nail bars and some outdoor venues to reopen in the area. Current restrictions on gatherings must remain in place to further bring down the rate of infection.
"We must remain vigilant, and I urge everyone in Leicester to continue to follow the rules: wash your hands regularly, follow social distancing, get yourself a free test as soon as you get any symptoms, and isolate if NHS Test and Trace tells you to."
All local restrictions are kept under constant consideration, including ahead of any formal reviews. As part of ensuring a proportionate yet robust response to the virus, where possible, the government will remove individual areas from these measures while maintaining or even strengthening measures in other places as necessary – just as has been done in other areas where local measures have been brought in, such as Leicestershire.
Shielding will remain in place but with some easements. Those shielding in Leicester may now meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing. Those living in a single-adult household and shielding, can now join a support bubble with one other household.
The easing of restrictions that took place on 15 August in England will not apply in Leicester.
There are currently 7 mobile testing units deployed across the city and 4 local test sites as well as the regional testing site and they will continue to provide significant testing capacity to the area.
The amending Regulations were signed today (18 August) and will come into force at 00:01 on Wednesday 19 August 2020.