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Coronavirus: No plans to enforce on-trade closures

Published:  19 March, 2020

The Prime Minister has confirmed that there are no timelines or plans in place to enforce restaurants, bars or pubs to close as long as the advice given by the government is followed by the public.    

“Decisions about pubs, bars and restaurants, we are guided very much by the science and we think the advice that we have given is working and as long as we think that people are actually staying away from places where they may transmit or or pick up the disease, the way we have recommended, if we felt that is working then we just want to say thank you everyone,” said Boris Johnson in this afternoon’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) briefing.

“However, he added, “if we feel that it isn't working, as I said yesterday, if we need to bring forward a couple of measures then of course nothing is ruled out”. 

On the subject of clarifying the promised government support for businesses, as outlined by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Tuesday’s briefing, Johnson said there would be more on this from Sunak in tomorrow’s briefing.

"The chancellor will be saying more tomorrow about the package we are putting in place for workers across the country to support everybody through this difficult time. We’ve been talking to the trade unions, and others today, and we think we have a great package ready to go."

In the meantime, Johnson’s message to businesses facing difficulties because of advice given by the government was “stand by your employees and we will stand by you”.       

 “This time it's going to be different as we come through this difficult economic phase. Remember what happened in 2008, everyone said we bailed out the banks and didn’t look after the people who really suffered.  

“This time we are going to make sure we look after the people who really suffer from the economic consequences of what we are asking them to do and we will be directing our support to them,” he said. 

By “a mixture of determined collective action and scientific progress, I have no doubt that we will turn the tide of this diseased beat it together”, he added. 

"It's important that everyone understands we will stick by businesses - this country will bounce back."