BORIS Johnson tonight begged Brits to get back to the office on Monday — as ministers warned staying at home could cost jobs.
The PM said Britain’s recovery was “unquestionably” linked to a mass “Covid-secure” return because the move would help stimulate the economy.
It came as figures showed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme was boosting restaurants and the businesses around them.
Mr Johnson’s decision to axe his work from home message emerged as figures showed two-thirds of Brits have yet to do so. Far more workers have returned on the Continent.
Whitehall civil servants are among those defying edicts, only one in 20 going back in some departments. Housing Minister Robert Jenrick warned job losses would follow because the wider economy will be hit if millions refuse to budge.
He said: “Those of us who can should be safely going out to shops, using cafés and restaurants and getting back to work.
“If we don’t, I’m afraid we will see further job losses and a loss of some of those fantastic businesses that we see in our cities.”
Mr Johnson added that getting schools open was “very, very important . . . for getting our economy overall moving again”.
Meanwhile, it emerged the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was working.
It offers half-price meals up to £10 a head on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this month. More than 72,000 restaurants have registered and, say experts, some 35.6million Brits are set to take advantage.
Contactless payments operator SumUp said transactions were up 16.4 per cent in cafes and restaurants on Monday compared to last week.
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Online bookings operator OpenTable said bookings were up ten per cent. Mr Sunak said 1.4million hospitality workers had been furloughed, the highest proportion in any sector, “so it’s important we support them as we reopen the economy safely”.
Retail specialist Springboard said his discount dining deal was helping the high street. Visits to shops by 3pm on Monday were nearly 30 per cent higher than the Monday before.
Visits to retail parks and shopping centres were 19 per cent higher. Mr Sunak said: “It’s great.”
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