Prime Minister Announces New Measures to Slow Spread of COVID-19

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced last night (23 March 2020) that the government is taking new measures to fight the Coronavirus pandemic across the UK.

In the speech from Downing Street, the Prime Minister outlined strict new measures that will take immediate effect across the country.

The measures included the closure of all shops selling non-essential goods and items. These businesses and premises are as follows:

  • Food and drink – All cafes, restaurants (including workplace canteens) public houses, bars, and night clubs (including bars in hotels or members’ clubs). With the following exclusions: food delivery and takeaway, Cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless.
  • All Retail – With the following exclusions: Supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including non-dispensing pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, laundrettes and dry cleaners, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices, and banks.
  • Hotels – Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites and boarding houses.
  • Non-residential institutions – Libraries, community centres, youth centres and similar places of worship for service, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.
  • Assembly & Leisure – Museums and galleries, Bingo halls, casinos and betting shops, Spas, Skating rinks, Fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres, Arcades, bowling alleys, soft play centres and similar.
  • Outdoor recreation – Enclosed spaces in parks, including playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar.

Previously, the Chancellor announced new measures to help support businesses through the crisis, including grants, funding, and business rate relief. To find out more visit our Coronavirus update page or contact the Growth Hub team on 01905 677 888 or email

Furthermore, the Prime Minister stated that the British public ‘must stay at home’ to slow the spread of the virus, stating that people can only leave their homes for the following:

  • For the shopping of basic and necessary food items, as infrequently as possible
  • For any medical need, to provide care or help to a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work under necessary conditions, where the work cannot be completed from home
  • One form of exercise per day

In his speech the Prime Minster commented that the above measures will be ‘under constant review’ and relaxation may be considered in three weeks’ time if evidence allows. He added ‘no Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this’ but that the new drastic measures are necessary in slowing the spread of the virus.

If your business has been affected by COVID-19 or you would like to talk about any support your business may require, please contact the Worcestershire Business Central team on 01905 677 888 or email


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