The Costa Coffee chain has announced the closure of all of its branches amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, resulting in over 2,000 of its stores closing until further notice.
The closures, which will take effect from today evening (Monday 23 March), follows the government urging all restaurants, pubs and bars to close.
The coffee chain which had initially remained open during the Covid-19 outbreak and only offered a takeaway-only service, also confirmed in a statement that it’s hospital branches will remain an exception, adding that it will continue providing free hot drinks to all NHS workers for the next two weeks.
The statement read: “At Costa Coffee our number one priority is the safety of our store teams and customers. As the need to support social distancing increases, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our stores from this evening, Monday 23 March.
“We will do our best to keep Costa stores open in hospitals where we will continue to provide free takeaway coffee for the next two weeks to the NHS workers who are at the forefront of this crisis.”
Costa also said it aims to keep its ‘Express’ machines available in supermarkets and garages.
The statement added: “This is not a decision we are taking lightly, but one made with the wellbeing and safety of our employees in mind as well as 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.”
The news follows McDonalds announcing the closure of all of its 1,270 UK sites by the end of the day (23 March).
Meanwhile, Nandos has also announced the temporary closure of all 400 UK sites “until further notice”. Both groups have pledged to donate remaining food to local community groups.