McDonald’s has announced it will close all 1,270 of its UK restaurants by the end of the day (23 March), amid the continuing coronavirus crisis.
Meanwhile, Nando’s 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.
McDonald’s said it had taken the “difficult decision” to close all restaurants in the UK and Ireland by 7pm on 23 March “at the latest”.
The group, which employs 135,000 people in the UK, said that the decision had not been “taken lightly”. Going forward, it will now work with local community groups to distribute food and drink from its restaurants.
Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s UK and 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 and therefore we have taken the decision to close every restaurant in the UK and Ireland by 7pm on Monday 23 March.
“We have not taken this decision lightly and know that our restaurants have been playing an important role in the community providing hundreds of thousands of free drinks to frontline health and social workers and emergency services personnel.”
He added: “But I have been clear throughout this that we would only continue to operate whilst it was safe for our people and together with our franchisees, we feel now is the time to make this decision to temporarily close.
“We will be working closely with community groups across the UK and Ireland to distribute food from our restaurants to those most in need, and ahead of closing tomorrow evening, will ensure frontline health workers and emergency services personnel do not have to pay for any food or drink in our restaurants on sight of their work pass.”
Meanwhile Nando’s, which employs some 20,000 UK staff, announced yesterday that all sites would cease trading from 22 March.
In a statement, the chain said: “The safety and security of our customers and team is always our top priority and with this in mind we have taken the decision to temporarily close all of our restaurants across the UK and Ireland during the course of today, 22 March, to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
“Eat in, takeaway and delivery for customers will all stop until further notice and our remaining food will be given away to those who need it most across the community.”