Cafes, pubs and restaurants must close from Friday night – except for take-away food – to tackle coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
All the UK’s nightclubs, theatres, cinemas, gyms and leisure centres have also been told to close “as soon as they reasonably can”.
Mr Johnson said the situation would be reviewed each month.
Meanwhile, the government said it will pay 80% of wages for employees who are not able to work, up to £2,500 a month.
The announcement about closures follows similar measures taken in other countries – including in Ireland, where pubs and bars were asked to close from last Sunday.
There have been 167 deaths in England from the coronavirus outbreak, as well as six in Scotland, three in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.
The Bricklayer’s Arms pub in West Putney, London is pictured with a closed sign
A deserted Spanish Tapas restaurant in Camberley, in Surrey
Speaking at a daily Downing Street press briefing, Mr Johnson said the measures would be enforced “strictly” and that licensing arrangements would make doing so “relatively simple”.
He urged people not to go out on Friday night ahead of the closures, stressing: “For now, at least physically, we need to keep people apart.”
The prime minister added: “The more effectively we follow the advice we are given, the faster this country will stage both a medical and an economic recovery in full.”