UK finance minister Rishi Sunak is set to announce a local furlough scheme on Friday in which the government will subsidise two thirds of the wages of workers in pubs, restaurants and other businesses that are forced to close because of the coronavirus, British media reported.
According to local media, employers will be able to access the scheme “for as long as pubs, restaurants and other businesses are closed”. The hospitality industry has complained that the measure is destroying businesses.
Prime minister Boris Johnson will reportedly launch a simplified three-tier local lockdown code. Areas in Tier 1 will continue with the current social distancing measures, those in Tier 2 will have a ban on households mixing, while areas in Tier 3 will have to close hospitality.
The British parliament will vote on Tuesday on the imposition of a 10 p.m. closing time for pubs, bars and restaurants, which account for 41% of new cases.
Britain has already suffered the highest death toll in Europe. Epidemiologists have warned that the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care in the country will surpass the April peak if infections continue rising at the current rate.