A law to close entertainment venues during the COVID-19 outbreak to safeguard jobs.

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On 16 March, Boris Johnson announced that, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus: "people should avoid places like pubs, clubs and theatres. This applies especially to those in London which is "a few weeks ahead" of the rest of the UK" and added: "as for enforcement, we have the powers if necessary but I don't believe it will be necessary to use those powers."

Because the government has merely advised the public to avoid pubs, clubs and theatres, the proprietors of these venues will not be able to make any claim on insurance for loss of income. Staff will lose their jobs and many pubs and other venues that are already just about keeping afloat will close for good. London is already noticeably empty - London Underground has reported that passenger numbers have declined 19% so far, during the outbreak.  This will only get worse following the announcement today. Irrespective of whether the advice to avoid venues is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus or not, the government needs to realise that the effect on venues and their staff will be immediate. Without the ability to claim on insurance, smaller venues such as pubs and clubs will be laying off staff immediately before closing their doors. There has been no mention of any kind of support for such venues or their staff.

I therefore propose:

The government to pass emergency legislation to force public spaces such as pubs, clubs, theatres, cinemas, etc, to close during the period of COVID-19 so that they are able to claim on insurance policies to cover their loss of income.

The government to offer a package of emergency support to staff in the leisure industries affected by this legislation to ensure that loss of employment is minimised.

A further package of support to be offered to businesses to enable them to be able to reopen their doors once the virus is contained.