LIGHTS GO OUT IN UK PUBS AND RESTAURANTS AS WORKERS FEAR JOB LOSS
By Gene Alcantara, UK
LONDON - It’s the turn of the food and entertainment industry to succumb to the semi-lockdown measures of the British government’s Covid-19 response.
The closure order for restaurants, pubs, cafes, bar, nightclubs, cinemas, gyms and leisure centers took effect last Friday, March 20 as the government said it is following expert advice that needs to be done to tackle the spread of infection.
The government said the decision will help delay the spread of coronavirus by stopping non-essential contact and unnecessary travel, in line with the public guidance announced earlier this week.
“While people have responded well to calls for social distancing and self-isolation, we must go further if we are to be able to stop the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable people in our society, and our NHS,” Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrik MP said at the official government’s coronavirus site.
The closures, except for some take-away services for some establishments, however, will have dire consequences for the industries and their workers. With doors closed, job redundancies will follow and workers fear for where the next paycheck will come after.
Earlier, the government announced a promising package of measures worth GBP 330 billion to help companies pay rent, rates and wages expenses. And in his press briefing on Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the workers that his government is also behind them.
“Workers who are finding that their jobs are under threat or are going, through no fault of their own. And to all of them, we in government say: We will stand by you,” Johnson said.
Later, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that the government will cover the salaries of anyone affected up to 80% up to a maximum of GBP 2,500 per month. A move that reassured everyone from waiters to domestic servants, hairdressers to taxi drivers who had feared loss of their incomes from the closure of businesses nationwide following the lockdown.
The measures were put in place as governments scamper to turn the tide against coronavirus spread within three months, with testing, new medicines, and with digital technology to monitor and eliminate the disease.
The United Kingdom has registered 5,018 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 240 patients have died from the disease. It has tested 72,818 people and 67,800 has been found negative as of March 21, 2020.
Photo by Gene Alcantara