Covid-19: Thurrock Council to get new powers to shut pubs, cafes, shops and restaurants

COUNCILS in England will get new powers from Saturday to force owners to shut pubs, cafes, shops and restaurants in areas hit by coronavirus outbreaks reports the BBC.

Boris Johnson said local authorities would also be able to close public places, like parks, and cancel events.

And he announced the government would issue “stay-at-home orders” where there are local outbreaks from next month.

These would stop people leaving defined areas and restrict public transport use until infection rates fall.

During a Downing Street press briefing, Mr Johnson announced the government’s next range of measures aimed at restarting the economy while keeping the coronavirus infection rate down.

He said employers would get more discretion over asking people to return to workplaces, while indoor performance events would restart from August.

Mr Johnson said greater powers for local authorities would enable them “to act more quickly in response to outbreaks where speed is paramount”, in what he called “lightning lockdowns”.

County councils and unitary authorities will no longer have to get permission from a magistrate to close contaminated premises not deemed to be part of “essential infrastructure”, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Government guidance says this “significantly” increases councils’ powers and urges them to use them “with discretion”.

Mr Johnson said: “Action by local councils will not always be sufficient, so next week we will publish draft regulations on how central government can intervene more effectively at a local level.

“Where justified by the evidence, ministers will be able to close whole sectors or types of premises in an area, introduce local stay-at-home orders, prevent people entering or leaving defined areas, reduce the size of gatherings beyond the national defined rules or restrict transport systems serving local areas.”

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