Coronavirus: Prime Minister tells all theatres, cafes and leisure centres to close today
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told all theatres, cafes and leisure centres to close today to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In his daily announcement today (Friday, March 20), he said cafes, pubs, clubs, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres should close tonight "as soon as they reasonably can" and not reopen tomorrow.
He said they can continue to provide takeaway services.
"These are places where people come together and indeed the whole purpose in many cases with these is to bring people together," said Mr Johnson.
"The sad thing is today, at least physically, we need to keep people apart."
Mr Johnson urged people not to go out tonight.
"Some people may be tempted to go out tonight and I say, please don't. There is no guarantee you are invincible and you can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it on to people.
"As far as possible we want people to stay at home. That is how we can protect our NHS and save lives."
He admitted it was difficult and went "against the freedom loving instincts" of people.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a Government grant to cover people's wages of anyone not working as a result of the coronavirus. Any business, small or large and charitable or non-profit, can contact HMRC to apply for the grant to pay people kept on payroll.
"Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job even if their employer cannot afford to pay them and be paid at least 80 per cent of their salary."
The first grants should be paid within weeks and the scheme would be up and running by the end of April.
A coronavirus loan would be available from Monday for businesses and would be interest free for a year, said Mr Sunak.
Universal credit and working tax credit is also going up and there is support for self-employed people.
Mr Sunak said it was "unprecedented measures for an unprecedented time".
More by this authorKerry Coupe