Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered the closure all shops selling non-essential goods and has ordered the police to disperse public gatherings of more than two people.
The measures, introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19, will be reviewed in three weeks – effective from today.
Non-essential goods also includes shops selling clothing and electronics.
People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following purposes:
- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
Key workers include those involved in the distribution and delivery of food – as well as those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has previously outlined support packages available to businesses including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, whereby Government grants available from HMRC will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month.
Also available to employers is the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the chancellor has deferred the next quarter of VAT payments until June.
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