Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered all pubs, clubs, cafes, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, leisure centres, and gyms to close by the end of business tonight.
Addressing the nation in his daily coronavirus conference, Mr Johnson revealed the drastic measures to help stem the spread of Covid-19 – the deadly condition caused from coronavirus.
Earlier today (March 20) Public Health England confirmed the death toll from Covid-19 had risen to 167.
Mr Johnson said: “The speed of our eventual recovery depends entirely on our collective ability to get on top of the virus now and that means we have to take the next steps on scientific advice.”
“And following our plan we are strengthening the measures announced on Monday.
“We need now to push down further on that curve of transmission between us.
“And so following agreement with all the devolved administrations, we are collectively telling cafes, pubs, bars and 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.”
Mr Johnson said the Government would be continually assessing the situation around pubs and cafes and other requested closures “to see if we can relax any of these measures”.
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.”
Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed the news. On social network Twitter, he said: “I agree – absolutely essential to do this given the excruciating pressure hospitals, especially in London, are under.”
A number of businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire – including the Quarter and Slamwich Club in Hanley’s Piccadilly – had already announced they had closed after Mr Johnson told punters to stay away.