Cafes, pubs and restaurants must close from Friday night, except for take-away food, to tackle coronavirus, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
All the UK’s nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres have also been told to close “as soon as they reasonably can”.
Mr Johnson said the situation will be reviewed each month.
The chancellor has said the government will pay 80% of wages for employees who are not working, up to £2,500 a month.
The announcement about closures follows similar measures taken in other countries – including in Ireland, where pubs and bars were asked to close from last Sunday.
There have been 167 deaths in England from the coronavirus outbreak, as well as six in Scotland, three in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.
Speaking at a daily Downing Street press briefing, Mr Johnson said the measures would be enforced “strictly” and that licensing arrangements will make doing so “relatively simple”.
He urged people not to go out on Friday night, stressing: “For now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart.”
The prime minister added: “The more effectively we follow the advice we are given, the faster this country will stage both a medical and an economic recovery in full.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today, that he is ordering all workers in non-essential businesses to stay home and banning gatherings statewide in an effort to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
According to CBS News, Non-essential gatherings of any size are canceled or postponed, he said. The new rules will go into effect on Sunday.
To date, the pandemic had killed more than 10,000 people worldwide and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is rapidly climbing. There are more than 14,000 cases in the United States and 247,000 cases globally. Italy now tops China as the country with the most deaths: more than 4,000 cases.