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Pubs, restaurants and clubs ordered to close amid coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 17:30 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:21 20 March 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus news conference inside 10 Downing Street, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 19, 2020. Coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread to over 177 countries in a matter of weeks, claiming over 8,000 lives and infecting over 230,000. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus news conference inside 10 Downing Street, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 19, 2020. Coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread to over 177 countries in a matter of weeks, claiming over 8,000 lives and infecting over 230,000. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Pubs, restaurants, clubs, leisure centres and gyms have been told to close their doors from today as the country continues to battle to coronavirus outbreak.

In his daily briefing to the nation, prime minister Boris Johnson told businesses in the hospitality sector that they must shut up shop - though they will remain allowed to provide take-away services.

He added: “You may be tempted to go out tonight and I say to you please don’t, you may think that you are invincible - but there is no guarantee that you will get it.

“But you can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it on.”

He added: “We want you as far as possible to stay at home.”

It comes as the government continues to ramp up social distancing measures in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, which has today seen its first two fatalities in Norfolk.

Meanwhile, chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has unveiled an “extraordinary financial support package”, which he described as “unprecedented measures for unprecedented times”.

Among these measures, a new coronavirus job retention scheme allowing employers to apply for grants to cover wages of people who are not working during the outbreak.

He said: “I am placing no limit on the amount available for this scheme. We said we would stand together with the British people and we meant it

“Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll rather than being laid off.

“Government grants will cover 80pc of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month - that’s just above the median income.”.”
Mr Sunak added: “I can not promise you that no-one will face hardship in the weeks ahead.”

“Let me speak directly to businesses: I know it’s incredibly difficult out there - we in government are doing everything we can to support you,” he said.

“The government is doing its best to stand behind you and I’m asking you to do your best to stand behind our workers.”

MORE: Coronavirus patient leaves Norwich hospital ahead of positive test result

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