New Regulations to tackle businesses refusing to close announced as PM urges people to heed Social Distancing Advice

23 March 2020

In his briefing on 22 March 2020, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, reminded people of the importance of following the current Government guidance on social distancing, in particular, the advice to try and keep 2 metres apart from people to frustrate the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus.  The full advice is to:

  • Avoid contact with people showing the symptoms of the virus
  • Avoid non-essential use of public transport
  • Work from home, where possible
  • Avoid large and small public gatherings
  • Avoid gatherings with friends and family
  • Use telephone and online services to contact GPs and other essential services

Robert Jenrick MP, Homes and Communities Secretary, announced that the NHS would be identifying 1.5m of the most vulnerable people. The NHS will be asking those people to stay at home for 12 weeks. These include those with serious respiratory conditions, those who have had organ transplants and those on certain immunosuppressant drugs. A full list of conditions can be found here. Those who provide care and support to those individuals will not have to isolate for 12 weeks, but will need to adhere to the current social distancing advice. A series of Community Hubs will be set up to care for those who do not have care in place.

The Government has also announced measures to tackle businesses who do not follow the current COVID-19 restrictions that require them to close. Regulations have been signed off that will allow Local Authorities and Police to take enforcement action against those businesses, which includes unlimited fines and the loss of any alcohol licence. More details can be found here.

The Government has also announced its Techforce19 challenge, providing up to £25,000 of funding to technology companies to encourage them to develop digital products to support those who need help during the outbreak. More information can be found here.

Today’s Briefing has been delayed as the Prime Minster is Chairing a COBRA meeting.

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