After months struggling to keep afloat, things were finally looking up for landlord Stuart Towers. He was due to order 5,000 pints of beer in anticipation of his pub, the Market Tavern, opening on Saturday, and a week on Friday was planning a three-week holiday in Tenerife.
But then the 55-year-old discovered not only was his pub being ordered to remain shut for the foreseeable future, but his home on Saffron Road was narrowly inside a new quarantine zone announced by Leicester City Council restricting all but essential travel.
His business has been plunged back into uncertainty and with the Health Secretary Matt Hancock warning a travel ban for Leicester residents is on the table, his holiday hangs in the balance. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now,” he says.
Fear and confusion reigned on the streets of Leicester. While the rest of the nation looks forward to ‘Super Saturday’, here businesses and residents have been plunged back into the early days of lockdown. With non-essential shops closed from yesterday and schools shutting their doors from tomorrow, there was even reports of a resurgence of people panic buying toilet roll.
With Leicester now a ghost town once more there are fears the latest lockdown might push some businesses over the edge. The Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby described himself as “very, very concerned” on Tuesday.