Pubs, restaurants and gyms in London face closure to tackle coronavirus spread

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor

All pubs, restaurants, cinemas and gyms across London could be closed, as the Government ramps up its efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to impose the measures at a meeting of officials on Friday afternoon, according to reports.

Shops, however, are likely to be able to remain open for the time being.

It comes after the PM said the Government would not “rule out” taking “further and faster measures” than the social distancing instructions already outlined.

London has so far been more severely affected by the virus than other parts of the UK, yet there has been concern many people have continued to socialise in pubs and attend gyms around the city.

Tom Stainer, chief executive of consumer group Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), said: “If pubs across London close to stop people gathering, it is important that the Government makes clear what services they can still offer, such as allowing people to take away food and drink.

“The Government also needs to reassure those who work in pubs what measures will be put in place to secure their jobs and businesses.

“Camra, along with the rest of the industry, will continue to push for a wider package of support.”

Camra has set up a central register to let people know what pubs are offering during the crisis, and is working with a crowdfunding initiative to support small businesses.

A spokeswoman for Better Leisure, which runs leisure centres and gyms across the capital, said it would not speculate on reports until the Government made an official statement.

She added: “While the majority of the leisure centres we operate remain open, where our local authority partners have requested that we close facilities, we have fully supported the decision taken and are currently implementing closures in some areas of the country.

“The health of our customers and staff remains of paramount importance.”