LONDON (Reuters) – The streets were much quieter than usual on Tuesday after Britain was practically closed to curb the spread of the Corona virus, but the London Underground trains were full of people and the streets were far from deserted.
Some workers also continued to mix closely after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered people to stay at home on Monday evening. Most shops would have to close and ban social gatherings.
The unprecedented peace restrictions, which will last for at least three weeks, are designed to prevent the National Health Service (NHS) from being overwhelmed after the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has risen to 335.
But social media images showed that London’s underground trains were full of commuters and a large retail chain suggested that they stay open. There were also complaints that the advice was confusing or did not go far enough.
“I hope that people follow this advice. If for some reason this is not the case, there will be penalties, ”Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove told BBC TV. “People have to stay at home to protect themselves, protect the NHS, and save lives.”
Under the restrictions of the movement, people should only leave their homes for very limited reasons, e.g. For example, if they go to supermarkets once a day to get essential goods or do sports.
Earlier advice for British people to avoid gatherings was largely ignored and people flocked to parks and beauty spots. The police will now break up gatherings of more than two people and social events such as weddings – but no funerals – will be stopped.
Gove said that measures greater than £ 30 ($ 35) fines could be imposed on people who violated the new restrictions.
“If people continue to behave anti-social, we will have stronger measures,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
A quick YouGov survey found that 93 percent of Britons supported the measures, but divided on whether fines would be a sufficient deterrent. The survey found that 66 percent believed the rules were very easy or fairly easy to follow.
Supermarkets said they had started to limit the number of shoppers in stores at the same time and installed screens at the checkout to protect staff.
Sports Direct, a sportswear chain owned by the Frasers Group, initially said it would oppose the closure, but later said it had asked the government for permission to open stores.[L8N2BH22Y]
Gove said Sports Direct was not an essential store and should close.
There was also confusion about who was allowed to go to work and what powers the police had to enforce the new guidelines.
Images showed that the London Undergrounds were overcrowded with passengers who were closer than the recommended distance of 2 meters.
A survey found that the UK economy is now shrinking at a record pace, faster than during the 2008/09 financial crisis, as companies across the service sector are closed.
The government has pledged hundreds of billions of pounds in loan guarantees and grants and has announced it will pay wages. Finance minister Rishi Sunak should announce new measures to support the self-employed later on Tuesday.
Additional reporting by Sarah Young, Paul Sandle, James Davey and David Milliken; Written by Michael Holden and Giles Elgood, editor at Timothy Heritage