Prime Minister tells pubs, clubs, restaurants and leisure centres to shut

Sunday, 22 Mar, 2020

Nightclubs, cinemas, theatres, gyms, and leisures centres have also been given the same guidance as part of government efforts to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Businesses could continue to provide takeaway services, he said.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has announced he wants the United Kingdom to ramp-up coronavirus testing to 250,000 tests a day in an aim to "turn the tide within 12 weeks".

"The Government must give people the economic security to stay at home by lifting the level of statutory sick pay, but it appears that the Government hasn't done that today", he said.

Mr Johnson acknowledged that people may be tempted to go out on Friday night, before the measures are introduced - but he said "please don't".

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the United Kingdom could "turn the tide" on Covid-19 in 12 weeks, but that required Britons to heed government calls for social distancing, including staying away from pubs and restaurants.

"We're further behind the growth of this virus than in Italy. the growth here in the early days was slower than in the rest of Europe". "We have the chance to get on top of this and turn the tide". We in government are doing everything we can to support you.

"People concerned about their jobs and livelihoods will feel hugely reassured today that the Chancellor has acted swiftly", said Unison general secretary Dave Prentis.

This new speech shared between Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak revealed nationwide business closures and plans for supporting employers in paying wages but did not go into much detail on how renters would be economically supported.

At this afternoon's daily press conference, Mr Johnson said the situation will be reviewed each month.

Sunak said that the government would use grants to pay 80% of the salaries of Brits still on the payroll but forced out of work by coronavirus, in order to prevent them losing their jobs.

There are also some new measures in place for freelancers, including a raising of the universal credit allowance and the Working Tax Credit basic element. "A local housing allowance will cover 30 per cent of market rent in your area", said Sunak, without really explaining further.

The UK has already been under semi-lockdown measures but there were fears that many people were not taking the advice seriously enough, resulting in the forced closure of establishments as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases mounted to 3,983.

He also pledged to businesses that the government is doing everything it can within its power, and that it would "stand by" them.