Coronavirus: Leisure venues to close for the foreseeable future as the government announces help for employees and business

Boris Johnson has announced that cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas and gyms are to close from tonight, to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

This should come as no surprise – operators of such venues were preparing to do so, if they haven’t already closed their doors.

Not only did they not want their establishments to be breeding-grounds for the spread of Covid-19; they knew that they absolutely didn’t want to turn people against them by appearing to be helping spread it.

And the simple fact is that people have been staying away in increasing numbers.

This Writer is chair of a local charity in Mid Wales and we were due to run a charity shop here for two weeks, starting last Saturday (March 14) – but we closed it down yesterday (March 19) for the reasons I mention above.

The biggest local hotel has seen a large amount of cancellations, including events and conferences.

One local pub didn’t open this week and the landlord of another had already announced his intention to close on Saturday.

All the local businesspeople have expressed concern about how they will keep going, as the measures announced by the government so far seemed not to apply to them. Odd, that…

Hopefully some of the new policies rolled out today may have changed that.

Employees will have 80 per cent of their wages paid by the government for the time being, up to £2,500 per month. This comes as a result of pressure on the Tories from unions, and should in turn take the pressure off our working people.

And business owners are getting measures to ease the burden on them while the crisis continues.

These are good policies, on the face of it – and, if we all accept and follow them, then the biggest fear as we go into enforced near-isolation, is about what to do with our time while we wait for the danger to pass.

Some of us will need to preserve our mental health very carefully.

As for others… well, to see how they pass their time, we’ll probably have to look at the register of births any time between nine months and a year from now.

The need was clear: after a decade of underfunding by the Tories, the National Health Service simply isn’t capable of handling an epidemic of the magnitude that coronavirus threatens.

Johnson tried to shrug his shoulders and tell us to expect a lot of deaths – and the response was disastrous for him.

So he had to find another solution and this is it. And on the face of it, it’s a good effort – albeit one that he had to be backed into.

But it might not save him – or us – because we don’t know how far the disease has spread while he was procrastinating and, with hospitals already running out of beds as cases multiply, we don’t know if even these measures will be enough to prevent a healthcare disaster.

Source: Coronavirus updates: Boris Johnson announces stricter new measures – BBC News

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  1. Wayne March 20, 2020 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Bojob has finally done something, or maybe our chancellor forced him to do it. The only criticism I have is he should’ve done this on Monday

  2. kateuk March 20, 2020 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Still no help for the self employed like my friends who are photographers and musicians. Bookings and gigs are cancelled and they have no work and don’t know how they will pay their rent or buy food. And what about those on zero hours contracts? My partner’s daughter works for McDonalds while studying for her degree. The restaurants are closed, now they are only operating as drive through and take away. Her hours have been drastically cut, but she’s not “laid off” (she still has a job) her money has gone down a lot, but it doesn’t seem as people on zero hours contracts will get help, they aren’t “laid off” even if their hours are down to nothing.

  3. Stu March 21, 2020 at 5:33 am - Reply

    I noticed Bojob physically wince when Rishi Sunak went out of his way to thank the CBI and the Unions at the briefing.
    Admitting to finally inviting adults into the room to find a solution gave a swift kick to the Government’s credibility as they pretend to be fully in charge and in control.

  4. Molly Ayton March 21, 2020 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    I am self employed I have seen nothing that will help me or others survive this crisis.

  5. Florence March 21, 2020 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    But they havent changed their policy – just rolling it out over a longer time scale. They still are not trying to prevent any infections or erdicate the virus. These new “concessions” seem to me to be sop to stop the riots and to keep us all sitting indoors.
    Without mass testing and contact tracing and further isolations (proper ones not the self imposed restrictions where we even have to find our own food especially when ill) there is no posdinility of this being contained. The new model is simply the same but with planned releases of the infection just enough to keep the fire burning. Over and over again until the “herd” is not immune but a lot smaller.

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