Non-essential businesses across the city have had to suddenly shut up shop just two weeks after reopening.
It follows the announcement last night by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who declared that a local lockdown was being imposed after a spike in coronavirus cases in the city.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Hancock told MPs that non-essential shops in Leicester would close today and schools would shut to most pupils from Thursday.
The Health Secretary told MPs the easing of the lockdown planned for the rest of England on July 4 cannot happen in Leicester because of rising cases.
Mr Hancock has advised people from Leicester to stay at home as much as they can while the local lockdown measures continue.
We spoke to the owners of independent non-essential shops in Leicester to find out how they feel about the restrictions.
Tim Stinchcombe owns Twelve Silver Trees jewellery shop, which launched in Malcolm Arcade in September 2019.
The shop is now closed, but customers can still make purchases online.
Tim told LeicestershireLive: “Last night’s announcement is very disappointing as we have only been open again for two weeks. Where our shop is located footfall has been very low and down verses pre-lockdown and this new lockdown is not going to help us at all.
“Since we reopened we have had no contact from any local government offices regarding assistance to be Covid secure or any guidance at all and the arcade we are located in is council owned. No social distance measures have been put in place.
“We only opened in September 2019 so as a new business this is a very stressful and worrying time.”
Beverley Haywood, owner of The Wardrobe in Royal Arcade, said she was ‘upset’ at the decision: “To be honest we are really frustrated as we were just starting to pick up. The weekend had been good trade-wise and we could see an improvement in public confidence. Plus, people had just been paid and were desperate to have some normality in their lives again.
“We fully understand the importance of locking down, keeping people safe and getting on top of an outbreak but when you hear that the government had the figures 11 days ago and have only just decided to act on them its very frustrating.
“It probably would have been better if we hadn’t opened on the 15th June. I feel like we will have to start all over again and try to build public confidence, it’s a real knock back.
“It’s hard enough in normal circumstances trying to attract customers out of the shopping centres and into small independent shops. I just hope that we can all survive this.”
Carli Onguc owns Lanes Fine Jewellery, in Loseby Lane, with her husband Ercan. Carli said: “It is frustrating but we will continue to sell through our website and remain engaged with our lovely, loyal customers.
“Our concern is for the hospitality businesses in the city who were due to open on Saturday and have ordered supplies. This must be very disappointing news for them.”
In Queens Road, Clarendon Park, gift shop Art of Cards has also had to close.
Manager Elizabeth Grover told LeicestershireLive: “It’s frustrating but if it saves lives in the long run it’s what has to happen.
“As a small business we are struggling but our regular customers have been amazing so hopefully they’ll be back to support us when we do reopen.”
Rakesh Parmar, owner of Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe in Hotel Street, said: “Financially we have been impacted since the 23rd March from the first lockdown. From the 15th June onwards it has been very difficult, our part of town on Hotel Street has felt like a ghost town.
“On the other side of the coin I feel it’s important that we protect people and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The safety first approach is understandable and I agree wholeheartedly with Matt Hancock’s decision.
“Frontline workers, vulnerable people and other people who are suffering are more valuable.”