In a truly unprecedented move, the UK government has announced that it will subsidize the wages of any worker facing unemployment because of the coronavirus pandemic as it ordered the closure of pubs and restaurants to try to contain the outbreak. According to finance minister Rishi Sunak, the government will cover 80% of worker salaries for at least the next three months up to a maximum of £2,500 ($2,900) a month, which is more than the average income.
Sunak said the measures would apply to all companies, large or small. The measure was part of a bigger rescue package for British businesses, including tax relief totaling £30 billion and interest-free loans for up to 12 months.
Although the UK has been starkly criticized for its slow approach to quelling the virus, this dramatic intervention shows the government is now taking the situation seriously. Now the question is whether the US will follow suit with a similar initiative.