By Paul Waugh
Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to turn themselves into hot food takeaways in an emergency move to save them from closure during the coronavirus crisis.
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick announced that he was relaxing planning rules on takeaways to enable businesses to stay afloat and save jobs.
The measures are the latest in a series of steps the government is taking to support businesses which face huge drops in customers because of the government’s latest advice to end all but essential social contact and travel.
The new changes will kick in within days, although insiders stressed that pubs would only be able to deliver food not alcohol to people’s homes.
The coronavirus crackdown is expected to prompt a huge surge in home deliveries as millions are effectively told to work from home and reduce contact in their local area.
In the US, Amazon announced it was hiring 100,000 extra staff to cope with the surge in demannd.
Jenrick said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to tackle the pandemic and support people, businesses and communities through this difficult time.
“These changes will provide vital flexibility to pubs and restaurants and will ensure people are able to safely stay at home while still supporting some of the great local businesses across this country.
“The government has confirmed the relaxations to planning rules will be put in place as soon as possible to provide reassurance to businesses and enable them to start providing takeaways to people quickly.”
Jenrick’s move is the latest in ‘regulatory’ easing that the government hopes will help British firms stay in business in coming months.
HuffPost UK understands that a key policy to help workers keep their jobs will be a National Insurance change for employers, effectively channeling cash to staff even if their firms suffer a big drop in trade during the crisis. Universal Credit rules are also set to change to help gig economy workers and the self-employed hit by self-isolation measures.