British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told cafes, pubs and restaurants across the country to close on Friday night and to stay shut indefinitely to help slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.
"We are telling cafes, bars and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can and not to open tomorrow," Johnson told reporters in Downing Street. "Though to be clear, they can continue to provide takeout services.
"Some people may of course be tempted to go out tonight, and I say to those people, 'please don't,'" Johnson said.
The British government has also vowed to pay businesses hit by the coronavirus outbreak not to lay off workers, as part of what finance minister Rishi Sunak said would be an unprecedented economic intervention.
"Today I can announce that for the first time in our history the government is going to step in and pay people's wages," Sunak said at a news conference, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the closure of pubs and eat-in restaurants.
Sunak said the government would give grants to cover 80 per cent of a worker's salary if businesses kept them on staff.
"The economic intervention that I am announcing today is unprecedented in the history of the British state," he said.
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TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has said the Government will know towards the end of the month whether additional restrictions on the public's movements will have to be introduced to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.