Following in the wake of a string of other countries who have introduced the same measure, the UK is now planning to ban all mass gatherings in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The UK government had previously decided to allow large gatherings of people to continue and for schools to stay open after a meeting of the governmental emergency committee, COBRA, on March 12th. However, given the rapidity with which the virus appears to be spreading the government has performed a u-turn on this decision.
According to one source the ban will be introduced next week, “Ministers are working with the chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer on our plan to stop various types of public event, including mass gatherings.”
The government also plans to push businesses to adopt widespread “working from home” arrangements.
Prime Minster Boris Johnson has said that banning events will have little effect on the spread of the virus, but could reduce pressure on the UK’s health care infrastructure.
Many events have already been postponed in the UK, including the London Marathon and Premier League football matches. The new ban will mean festivals and large concerts scheduled during the next few weeks will be forced to postpone or cancel.
The wave of voluntary cancellations of shows has already put a massive strain on the music industry. As a result, artists have launched a petition to ask the government for financial support during these uncertain times. And it is not just festival organisers and bands who are out of pocket but also all the staff who work at these events. If you want to support them by signing the petition you can do so here.