Business / Local pubs, cafes and restaurants set to close as government steps up coronavirus measures

UK government also announces ‘unprecedented’ financial support for businesses and workers, including covering wages

PUBS, cafes and restaurants across the country are set to close as the UK government steps up its efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced this evening (20 March) that nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres would also be told to close. Shops will remain open.

Cafes and restaurants, however, will still be able to offer takeaways.

The businesses have been asked to shut “as soon as they reasonably can” and not be open on Saturday (21 March).

Leisure centres in the isles are already closed after Shetland Recreational Trust shut its network earlier this week.

Some cafes and restaurants in the isles had already voluntarily closed.

A number of local pubs and restaurants took to social media to confirm their closure.

People were previously asked not to attend social gatherings at venues like pubs and cinemas.

The government has also stressed that people should not go out tonight (Friday) for one last drink.


However, the government has announced a range of measures designed to financially support businesses and workers, as well as people on benefits.

It will pay 80 per cent of wages for employees not working, up to £2,500 a month, via a grant system. It can be backdated to 1 March.

The government will also defer the next quarter of VAT payments, while Universal Credit benefit allowance and working tax credit is to be raised.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the package of measures was “unprecedented”.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.