Councils are preparing for bars, shops and restaurants to be forcibly closed from next week in the expectation that the country will move towards some form of lockdown.
Multiple town hall sources have told that they anticipate measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus will step up dramatically in the coming days.
Supermarkets would be likely to be allowed to remain open, but all other public venues would be forced to shut.
At yesterday’s daily Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson was asked whether it would be necessary to enforce ‘social distancing’ measures after some people in many areas - including London and Manchester - appeared to be ignoring government advice to avoid interaction in public places.
The Prime Minister said he would not ‘rule anything out’, telling journalists: “We live in a land of liberty as you know, and it’s one of the great features of our lives that we don’t tend to impose those sorts of restrictions on people in this country.
Senior sources in four different councils this morning said they were now expecting the enforced closure of many businesses and public venues from next week.