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Government and local authorities given new powers to close businesses during local Coronavirus outbreak

Sadiyah Ismailjee
20 July 2020

British prime minister, Boris Johnson has announced that local authorities will have new powers to close stores and businesses during local Coronavirus outbreaks.

The government revealed new guidelines for limiting and containing future outbreaks across the UK.

“Where speed is paramount”, councils will be now be able to shut down certain stores in response to local outbreaks.

This week, the government will also publish draft regulations which will give power to central government to “intervene more effectively at a local level”.

This will give ministers the green light to close entire sectors or particular stores in a local area when required.

In addition, new measures also include implementing local stay at home policies, and preventing people coming into and leaving effected areas.

The new powers given to local authorities and central government is followed by health secretary Matt Hancock's announcement that some non-essential retail stores will be allowed to remain open in Leicester from 24 July.

Leicester is the very city to be placed into a local lockdown due to an increase in Coronavirus cases within the city.

Boris Johnson said: “We know more about the virus and our intelligence on where it is spreading. We can control it through targeted local action instead. It has to be right to take local action against local outbreaks.”

On the 1 August, the government will be providing advice on how employees can return back to work safely.

Boris Johnson said: “That could mean continuing to work from home. It could mean making workplaces safe by following Covid-secure guidelines. Whatever employers decide they should consult with their employees and only ask people to return if it is safe.

“As we reopen society and economy its right we give employers more discretion whilst ensuring employees are kept safe.”

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