Leicester restaurateurs have said a marketing campaign will be required to entice diners back to the city, after it became the first in England to be placed on an extended period of lockdown.
Restaurants in Leicester still have no idea when they will be able to welcome diners back, almost a month after they were told to remain closed.
The Treasury has confirmed there are no plans to offer further financial support to businesses in the city, but restaurateurs have called for a marketing campaign to offset the damage done to its reputation.
Sally Davis, co-owner of North Bar and Kitchen and North 42 gin, told The Caterer: "We don't want compensation or anything like that, but we're now a month behind everybody else and, more importantly, Leicester has now been tarnished.
"That puts us on a back foot and we need to make sure people return to the city, that they're safe and that they want to visit. We need to ensure the publicity around the city is right and that we're portrayed in the right light.
"There will be cost implications to get that going, but you look on the news and Leicester has been put on the map for the wrong reasons you can even look at the Netherlands who are saying you can come to the Netherlands, except if you're from Leicester."
Francesco Topan, owner of Casa Romana restaurant, added: "The support the council should give to us should be in advertisement. Small independent businesses especially will face problems to carry on and need a proper project to advertise us as safe places to go.
"They should look after Leicester – it's the only town nationwide that's been stopped from going forwards, and instead of going forwards we're still going backwards."
The government has said it will use a localised approach to tackling spikes in Covid-19 cases going forward, and at the end of last week the easing of restrictions was paused in both Luton and Blackburn with Darwen.
Both areas have been categorised as an ‘area of intervention' and will receive support to engage with high-risk groups and sectors and to help increase the effectiveness of testing and tracing at a regional level.
Announcing the measures health secretary Matt Hancock has said: "I appreciate this will be disappointing for many people and some businesses in the area, but we are in complete agreement with local leaders that the priority must be to protect local residents by stopping the spread of this virus."
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