McDonald's to close all restaurants by Tuesday amid coronavirus fears

22 March 2020, 20:59

McDonalds is closing all stores in the UK and Ireland
McDonalds is closing all stores in the UK and Ireland. Picture: McDonald's

By Kate Buck

McDonald's has announced it is closing all 1,350 restaurants in the UK and Ireland by Tuesday as coronavirus continues to spread.

The fast-food company, which has 135,000 employees in the UK and Ireland, said it has taken the “difficult decision” in a statement posted to Twitter – adding that stores will close by that time on Monday “at the latest”.

"This is not a decision we are taking lightly, but one made with the well-being and safety of our employees in mind as well as in the best interests of our customers.

"We will work with local community groups to responsibly distribute food and drink from our restaurants in the coming days.

"Thank you to our brilliant employees for their hard work during this incredibly challenging time.

"We look forward to seeing you all again as soon as it is safe for us to reopen."

McDonald's had already closed their restaurants to diners, only allowing a takeout service to operate
McDonald's had already closed their restaurants to diners, only allowing a takeout service to operate. Picture: PA

Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald’s UK & Ireland, said: “Over the last 24 hours, it has become clear that maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy takeaway and Drive Thru restaurants is increasingly difficult.”

The latest development comes after Boris Johnson said all pubs, clubs, and restaurants should close to stop people spreading the virus.

McDonald's initially closed the sitting area of their restaurants and said they would only operate their takeaway and drive-thru services.

People in the UK have been urged to socially distance themselves to reduce the risk of the spread.

Earlier today, the Prime Minister urged people to adhere to the rules and stay a minimum of 2 metres away from others when they leave the house.

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