Pubs, bars, clubs, cafes, restaurants, leisure centres, gyms all to close from midnight
Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak finally issued news that they are to enforce the shutdown of pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, leisure centres and gyms this evening. Finally, it feels the government are stepping in. Living in London right now, it feels that the majority of people just aren’t listening. The government have also confirmed that they will introduce financial packages and measures to help the country through such unprecedented times, which includes covering 80% of wages for PAYE staff and increasing Universal Credit.
London is made to listen
“We want you as far as possible to stay at home. That’s how we can protect our NHS and save lives.”Boris Johnson
I wrote an article this week entitled London Lockdown: Coronavirus, sharing my view that ‘London is not listening’. So many people are still out drinking, socialising, and not practising social distancing guidelines. Many people have been sent home by their employers, but many working in hospitality and other industries still had to work until today.
The juxtaposition between images we are witnessing in Italy versus images of people in the UK is frightening. I know I am not the only one who feels that we are stuck in a dystopian horror movie. The medical profession and governments are warning people about what is to come. Who seem to be going about their everyday lives, not heeding their advice and infecting others as they do so.
“Our advice is elderly people, people with serious underlying health conditions, people in the later stages of pregnancy – you have to be careful about the transmission of the virus. I’m sure people will handle that advice accordingly.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak told businesses today that they should look at the support available before laying people off. Employers can apply for grants up to 80% of a salaried staff’s wages, up to £2,5000. I think this has been an incredible relief and support to many people, who have been rightly concerned about losing their income. However, many people have already lost their jobs whether through redundancy or termination of notice. Please do read the full government article which expands on all of the support available for businesses.
What has become very clear throughout this initial stage, is that employees will remember how employers treated them through this crisis.
Support package for PAYE earners
Given the fact that there are so many people in the entertainment, hospitality and retail industries. This package is incredibly welcome to staff who will be affected by their loss of earnings. Perhaps too late for those who have been told this week that their employers no longer require them to come to work. However, many hospitality workers have been on standby awaiting their fate. The support package will cover PAYE staff but will not necessarily extend to those who are casual staff or on zero contract hours.