All cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants told to shut tonight


The Prime Minister has announced that pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants are to close tonight (March 20) as soon as they reasonably can and not to re-open. They can still operate as takeaways.

Leisure centres, gyms and theatres must also shut in the bid to contain the coronavirus, Leisure venues can stay open to offer takeaways only.

The PM said: “We are telling cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can and not reopen tomorrow.”

The measures will be reviewed on a monthly basis, and are being implemented across the whole of the UK.

This will not affect supermarkets or retailers that supply fuel, medicines and other vital goods, which will continue to be open as normal for the public.

The following businesses and venues have been asked to close:

  • Food and drink venues for consumption on-site, such as restaurants and cafes.
  • Drinking establishments, including pubs, bars, nightclubs.
  • Entertainment venues, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls, and bingo halls.
  • Museums and galleries.
  • Spas, wellness centres and massage parlours.
  • Casinos and betting shops.
  • All indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms.

Government grants will be issued to cover 80% of employees salaries so that employers can retain them. A job retention scheme will be created. VAT for all businesses will be deferred until the end of June.

New measures include an interest-free loan scheme for businesses for 12 months, the basic rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit to rise and suspending the minimum income floor for the  self-employed plus £1 billion support for those renting their homes.

The PM said: “We are collectively telling, telling cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can, and not to open tomorrow. Though to be clear, they can continue to provide take-out services.

“We’re also telling nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres to close on the same timescale.

“Now, these are places where people come together, and indeed the whole purpose of these businesses is to bring people together. But the sad things is that today for now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart.

“And I want to stress that we will review the situation each month, to see if we can relax any of these measures.

And listening to what I have just said, some people may of course be tempted to go out tonight. But please don’t.

You may think you are invincible, but there is no guarantee you will get mild symptoms, and you can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it on to others

So that’s why, as far as possible, we want you to stay at home, that’s how we can protect our NHS and save lives.

To repeat, I know how difficult this is, how it seems to go against the freedom-loving instincts of the British people. And I also know much, right now, workers and business deserve the financial reassurance we are giving them.

But we will get through this. We will get through it together, and we will beat this virus.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak,

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1 and will be open initially for at least three months – and I will extend the scheme for longer if necessary.

“I can announce today that the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will not be interest free, as previously planned, for 6 months – it will now be interest free for twelve months.

“To help businesses pay people and keep them in work, I am deferring the next quarter of VAT payments.

That means no business will pay any from now until the end of June; and you will have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

Thanks to the enormous efforts of our critical financial services sector, those loans will now be available starting on Monday.

“We’re paying people’s wages up to 80% so someone can be furloughed rather than laid off to protect their jobs.

“We’re deferring £30bn of taxes until the end of the financial year.nWe’re lending unlimited sums of money interest free for 12 months. We’re abolishing business rates altogether this year if you are in hospitality, retail and leisure.

” We’re providing cash grants of £25,000 for small business properties. I’m increasing today the Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year.

“For the next twelve months, I’m increasing the Working Tax Credit basic element by the same amount as well.

“I’m strengthening the safety net for self-employed people too, by suspending the minimum income floor for everyone affected by the economic impacts of coronavirus.

“That means every self-employed person can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.

“And to support the self-employed through the tax system, I’m announcing today that the next self-assessment payments will be deferred until January 2021.

“As well as keeping people in work and supporting those who lose their jobs or work for themselves, our Plan for Jobs and Incomes will help keep a roof over your head.

“We’ve acted already to make sure homeowners can get a three-month mortgage holiday if they need it.

“I’m announcing today nearly £1bn of support for renters, by increasing the generosity of housing benefit and Universal Credit, so that the Local Housing Allowance will cover at least 30% of market rents in your area.”

A new advertising campaign to explain all support available is due to be launched.

The government has also urged the public to take further steps to protect themselves and the wider population from the coronavirus, including:

  • Everyone to stay at home unless they need to get essential supplies such as food and medicines.
  • All those able to work from home to do so, unless their work is essential.
  • Only travelling if absolutely necessary - while public transport won’t stop, this should only be used for essential travel – for example by key workers to travel to and from work.

National situation

As of 9am today (March 20), 66,976 people have been tested in the UK, of which 62,993 were confirmed negative and 3,983 were confirmed positive.

As of 1pm, 177 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died including a 64-year-old man from Medway.

In Kent 32 people have now been confirmed as positive for the virus with a further 11 in Medway.


    • Right Macawber! I have checked with the police after they tried to close down my local café, and there is NO law stopping any business staying open! Johnson cannot “Tell” people to shut up shop because they will not commit an offence if they stay open! Its all part of Johnsons act to emulate Churchill, and give the impression he is in command! He isn’t, but he would dearly love to become a Dictator, like when he lied to the Queen, and attempted to suspend (prorogue) parliament!

  1. This has only been made necessary by the morons who have made it their mission to ignore all the official advice this week. Packed pubs during the daytime and restaurants full of people. You’ll find that if you can’t act like responsible adults then others will make the decisions for you.

    And I would have thought very few people top up their gas and electric in pubs and cafes and would tend to use shops as a rule.

  2. Excellent news.

    The lazy and the obese will not be able to get their daily fix of MacDonalds/KFC/Pizza Hut or whatever.

    A good dose of wartime mentality of rationing and cooking a few basic provisions and making them go a long way will improve everybody’s moral fibre. Bombs and bullets have killed more people than viruses . . .

  3. John.

    “The lazy and the obese will not be able to get their daily fix of MacDonalds/KFC/Pizza Hut or whatever”

    Not true they are still delivering.

  4. It was reported in my reputable newspaper on the 3rd March, 8.8 million people die of air pollution each year world wide, and 40,000 (to 60,000) die in Britain! That’s close to 1,000 people a week dying of air pollution here, so what’s the fuss about this virus! The last time I looked Britain wasn’t a dictatorship, despite Boris Johnson’s efforts to make it one!

    Johnson has no right to “Tell” businesses to close, and there is no law making it an offence not to! The billions of pounds this is going to costs us, yes US, to repay this loan will come from our public services as it did in 2008 when the world banks gambled our money away (Not the Labour Party!) and means austerity will continue for years ahead!

    • I too am a bit bewildered by the enormous world-wide effort and the huge amount of money being thrown at C19.
      Yes, it’s virulent, but so is the common cold (another coronavirus). Yes, it’s fatal in some circumstances, but so is regular “flu”.
      I really don’t understand what’s happening.
      BTW, it’s not just Boris (loathsome though he is), the whole of Parliament broadly supports this move.

    • Dumpton,you are ignorant of the facts. You are one of the fools taking this virus way too likely and it’s people with attitudes like yours that are helping spread this virus.

      Covid 19 is 10X more contagious than the flu. You and many more like you will only see the the truth when someone you know is affected by this and ends up in intensive care or dies from it.

      Doctors, nurses, chemists and whole governments are petrified of this virus, but then I forgot, you are obviously more qualified in medicine than all of them. Should they be calling you for advice?

      As for your facts about air pollution and 1000 deaths a week, Italy is now registering 800 deaths a day because of this virus and that number is rising rapidly daily.

      You are a total fool and you are trying to spread misinformation about something that is killing thousands, you should be ashamed of yourself and your ignorance.

  5. Well Done Boris but you need to be stricter with this. This is absolutely essential & goes way beyond politics.

  6. I am sceptical of Johnson because he is a proven liar, and con man! He even tried to con the queen, but all 12 Judges in the Supreme Court stopped him! Its almost certain Johnson will use this chaos to try and become a Dictator, like his pal the proven liar, Sex Offender, Racist, Donald Trump (average over 20 lies a day!).

    Millions of people are going to suffer due to Johnson’s idiotic claim to be able to “tell” or “order” people to close down their businesses, or was that his “Familiar” Domminic Cummings?

    There will be some 1.5 million seriously ill people, many living alone, who will probably receive a 2nd or 3rd rate care service now, if any, as their Carers will be Self Isolating, even if they are lucky to receive Care! Millions more are self employed who will probably receive no cash handouts, and not be able to pay their rent, or mortgage! And millions more (some 8.8 millions I have seen) who receive benefits, or state pensions of one sort or another, who will suffer because their Carers will be “Self Isolating”. I could go on, but make your own list!

    My newspaper today says by a reputable economist “Economy set to be hit harder than during 2008 financial crisis”. This is because no government has any money, it gets its money from taxing people! So get ready for more cuts to public services, the police, teachers, NHS, Social Services, Prisons/officers etc, because idiots like you “Concerned” voted for the megalomaniac con man, Johnson didn’t you?

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