Boris Johnson Orders All Pubs, Cafés And Restaurants To Close
Boris Johnson has ordered all pubs, cafés and restaurant to close tonight as UK's coronavirus lockdown continues.
Addressing the nation on Friday night, the PM said: "Following agreement between all the formations of the United Kingdom, we are collectively telling cafés, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight - as soon as they reasonably can - and not to open tomorrow, although they can provide takeout services."
The clampdown will also apply to theatres, nightclubs, gyms, shops and leisure centres, the PM said, as the government goes to extreme measures to keep people apart.
"Some people may be tempted to go out tonight,' he urged. 'Please don't. You may think you're invincible but there is no guarantee you'll get mild symptoms, and there is still a chance you'll be a carrier and infect others."
He admitted that the tough new measures would "[go] against freedom loving instincts of the British people".
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also announced a set of 'unprecedented' new measures to keep the UK's economy afloat as the pandemic continues to sweep the nation.
The government is pledging to help pay people's wages with a 'coronavirus job retention scheme' which will provide who are not working, but kept on payroll, with a grant from HMRC which will cover 80 per cent of their salary up until £2,500 a month.
This will be backdated to 1st March and will be in place for 'at least' three months, the Chancellor added.
He also explained the new 'coronavirus business interruption loan scheme', which will be interest-free for six months.
It comes after the announcement that schools in England would be closing on Friday, following the lead of England follows Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
England's school will continue to stay open for the children of key workers - such as those who work in the NHS, other public health sectors or supermarket workers - so that they can continue going to work.
Boris also added that exams would not be going ahead as planned in May and June, though he stressed the government would "make sure pupils get the qualifications they need and deserve for their academic career".
Latest government figures put the UK death toll at 177, with the majority of victims having underlying health conditions. The Department of Health has reported 3,355 confirmed cases as of Friday, although the true number is understood to be much higher as few people have been tested.
It comes after the government unveiled a raft of measures to help those impacted financially by the coronavirus lockdown, including small businesses, renters and homeowners who can no longer afford mortgage repayments due to being out of work.
Boris has urged people to work from home and avoid going out to bars and pubs in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Addressing the nation on Monday, he said: "It is now clear that the peak of the epidemic is coming, faster in some parts of the country than in others. It looks as though London is a few weeks ahead."
He emphasised that the government, as of this week, will no longer support mass gatherings involving emergency workers and all 'non essential' contact should be stopped, including catching up with friends for drinks.
However, the government has not yet not closed places such as bars and restaurants. Despite having the power to do so the government feels this isn't necessary just yet.
The PM added: "Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel."
He stressed that people with serious health conditions should isolate themselves for 12 weeks.
The government is also urging anyone who has a cough or temperature to stay at home for 14 days, while people should work from home where possible.
The government's chief scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, has reiterated that these sorts of closures "need to be done at the right time in the right way, at the right stage of the outbreak."
Featured Image Credit: PA