COVID-19: Extension of business closures

All non-essential retail stores including clothing and electronics stores, libraries, community centres, playgrounds, gyms, places of worship and hotels are due to close with immediate effect as the prime minister puts new restrictions in place in an effort to tackle COVID-19.

The decision follows Friday’s announcement that all pubs and restaurants should shut down. Boris Johnson said the country faced a “moment of national emergency” and more was needed to be done to protect the NHS and save lives.

As Britain’s high street closes down to facilitate social distancing, major chains including McDonald's and Primark are shutting their doors as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll. McDonald's has 135,000 workers in the UK and Ireland and Primark has almost 37,000 on their books in the UK. Greggs, with more than 2,050 outlets has become the latest food retailer to say that it will close its shops temporarily.
The Treasury has meanwhile announced a comprehensive series of measures supporting wages and cash flow for businesses. On Friday, chancellor Rishi Sunak declared that the government would pay 80% of wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month, to help with the fallout.

These strict new boundaries to tackle the spread of coronavirus come as the death toll reaches 335. Unprecedented controls also impose restrictions on individuals, who have been told to stay at home, only going outside to buy food or medication, to exercise once a day or to travel to work if absolutely necessary. Gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together will also be banned.

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