The government has urged hotels, hostels and B&Bs to remain open to house the homeless amid the coronavirus lockdown.
In a letter to owners, MHCLG Minister for Local Government and Homelessness, Luke Hall, said the government has “stepped up” measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
He said: “These are vitally important steps to encourage people to stay at home, and in doing so protect the NHS and save lives. As part of this package certain businesses, including retail selling nonessential goods, and other venues must close. Hotels, hostels and B&Bs going about normal business are included. However there are exceptions, such as providing accommodation to key workers and vulnerable people.
“In particular, I want to make clear that where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless people, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they should remain open. Rooms may also be provided to frontline homelessness workers who are included in the key worker category.”
He continued: “If you have closed services for homeless people today as a result of the measures announced this week, I would be very grateful if you could reverse these decisions as soon as possible.
“Thank you very much for everything you are doing to save lives and provide care for some of the most vulnerable in our society.”
The news comes after Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the UK public are only allowed to venture out of their homes for essential supplies and one exercise outing per day, or face fines, under new measures introduced this evening by the prime minister.
In a recorded address filmed in No 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson said the police will have the power to disperse groups of more than two people, and levy on-the-spot fines for people flouting the new rules.