This evening (Friday 20 March) Boris Johnson has asked pubs, bars and restaurants to close 'as soon as they can' tonight and not open for business tomorrow.
The prime minister has confirmed that these venues can remain operating as takeout services, but they should close as soon as they can tonight and not open tomorrow for normal business.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also announced that: 'For the first time in our history, the government will be setting up a job retention scheme.' This means any employer can apply for grant to keep paying their employees in an effort to reduce losing staff. These grants are eligible for any business of any size and in any industry and for anyone on the payroll up until 28 February 2020.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants will pay 80% of an employee's salary up to £2,500 a month and can be backdated to 1 March 2020. Employers will be able to top up wages, if they are able to.
The government will also be deferring the next quarter of VAT payments until the end of June - a direct injection of £30bn.
To support self-employed the next self-assessment payments will be deferred to January 2021.