The Northern Ireland-born Dean of Leicester has said the city has been "stunned" to see lockdown restrictions return after a spike in Covid-19 cases.
The Very Rev David Monteith, from Enniskillen, said he wanted to offer a message of support to those now facing added weeks of uncertainty.
He also called on the government not to forget the most vulnerable, with many of those testing positive for the virus in Leicester coming from low income and BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds. The first localised lockdown in the UK was announced after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said around 10% of all positive cases in England were detected there over the last week.
Non-essential shops have closed and schools will follow for at least two weeks for the city centre and some suburbs, with citizens advised not to make unnecessary journeys.
Rev Monteith said he is now uncertain about when he can return to Enniskillen to visit his parents, or when Leicester Cathedral can reopen.
"It's quite sombre here, people are quite stunned," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"The city is quieter today but clearly not everyone has got the message so it's not quite back to how it was in March or April."
He noted how coronavirus death figures in Leicester during the worst parts of the pandemic were lower than expected, adding: "Hospitals were pretty much managing to keep on top of things so this suddenly coming into the public arena has really surprised people."
Places of worship in England were allowed to open for private prayer earlier this month, with full worship supposed to follow on July 4. "In a very multicultural city like Leicester, that includes mosques, temples, churches and synagogues," he said. "Private prayer has worked for some traditions, but in mosques you're supposed to pray in public.
"This weekend many faith communities, including the Christian community, would have been able to have a much more normal sense of worship."
The cathedral is now closed until further notice, and funerals will again have to be held outside with limited numbers.
It sits at the burial site of Richard III, and just this week a large group of tourists had been welcomed inside. "This was the first time (since lockdown) that any of us have been in a room with 30 or more people and there was a real delight and joy about it even if you couldn't shake hands or hug," Rev Monteith said.
"Initially lockdown was a big shock for us. We've been doing online weekly services and sometimes we get very significant numbers of people, far more than would ever come to church. But there's something about physical presence which is still important even though online offers new possibilities.
"Somehow we're going to have to work with both of these realities moving forward."
Offering hope to those dreading the latest restrictions, he said: "I think I've noticed that this whole process has affected people very differently. Some have found the space and the clear air to have been a delight, while other people have struggled incredibly.
"But the human spirit is incredibly resilient and hope has not died at all. If anything in Leicester we've learned over the years that hope is a gift that comes from community.
"That's been my experience over the years, if I find myself locked away in a dark place, often the way to get out of it is to break out and reach out."
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to spend billions on infrastructure projects, Rev Monteith said those in need must be included.
"A lot of the people who are being tested positive in Leicester come from BAME backgrounds, and people living in poverty and working in very low paid jobs.
"We've seen a way in which we as a society have revalued care workers who are also not paid very much. I suppose moving forward, in thinking about the type of society we want to try and create, I think church and faith leaders are up for playing their part in creating a much more equitable society."
On Tuesday Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast there was an "unusually high" incidence of coronavirus in children in Leicester.
The Health Secretary said that while work was still being done to understand why Leicester had been so badly affected, extra testing had found under-18s testing positive for the virus.
He added that the decision to shut the city's schools was made to try to halt further transmissions.