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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.

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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”.

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