Britain orders pubs and restaurants to close due to coronavirus

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson orders pubs, restaurants, theaters, cinemas and gyms to shut their doors.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Boris Johnson following Thursday's election win
Boris Johnson following Thursday's election win

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson effectively closed down the United Kingdom on Friday, ordering pubs, restaurants, theaters, cinemas and gyms to shut their doors in a bid to slow down the accelerating spread of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Johnson said he understood just how wrenching it was to take away the ancient rights of the British people to go to the pub but that it was absolutely essential to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“I do accept that what we’re doing is extraordinary: we’re taking away the ancient, inalienable right of free-born people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub, and I can understand how people feel about that. It’s a huge wrench,” he said.

“It’s a huge wrench to do that, everybody understands that,” continued Johnson. “It’s heartbreaking to think of the businesses that will face difficulties as a result of the measures this country has had to take.”

Johnson announced that pubs, restaurants, theaters, nightclubs, cinemas and gyms and leisure centers were being asked to close on Friday night and to stay shut indefinitely.

“We are telling cafes, bars and restaurants to close tonight as soon as they reasonably can and not to open tomorrow,” he told reporters. “Though to be clear, they can continue to provide takeout services.”

“Some people may of course be tempted to go out tonight, and I say to those people, ‘please don’t,’” Johnson said.

The United Kingdom so far has 3,983 confirmed cases of coronavirus, after 66,976 people were tested, though the government’s scientists say it is raging across London, partly as some people are not obeying government advice to isolate.

At total of 177 people with the virus have died so far across the country.

Earlier this week, the Chief Rabbi of Britain, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, announced that the United Synagogue would be shutting down and ending all services in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus has also hit the British Parliament, where Nadine Dorries, a minister in the health department, announced last week that she had tested positive for the virus.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)