McDonald’s has announced that it will be closing all its UK and Ireland restaurants by tomorrow night at 7 pm latest.
The difficult decision was made by the fast-food chain as they wanted to take into consideration the wellbeing and safety of their staff during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as keep in the best interest of the customers too.
The brand is hoping to work with local community groups to help distribute food and drink from the restaurants out to those who need it during the upcoming days.
The previous Wednesday, McDonald’s confirmed that all seating areas and children’s play areas would be closed, meaning that people would now be to order food and drink only through the drive-thru.
A statement was released on Tuesday by McDonald’s chief executive Paul Pomroy, who said: “Our restaurants will remain open for as long as it is safe to do so.
“In the last 24 hours, it has become clear that we need to temporarily change our operations to ensure the wellbeing of our employees and customers consistent with the Government’s guidance on social distancing.
“Therefore from 5 am tomorrow (Wednesday) morning all restaurants will close seating areas and temporarily move to being takeaway, drive-thru and McDelivery only.”
He then added that all orders placed through Uber Eats and Just Eat would be “contact-free, with no physical contact between customers, employees and couriers, wherever possible”.
Before closing the restaurants, the fast-food chain was offering all emergency services and health and social care sectors a free drink if they presented their work pass.
A McDonald’s spokesperson added at the time: “Given the unprecedented and unique situation and the need to contain any societal spread of COVID-19, currently if a company-owned restaurant employee needs to self-isolate for 14 days we will pay them for this period, based on their average working hours.
“This applies to both those on guaranteed hour contracts and flexible contracts working in company-owned restaurants.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and may review this as the COVID-19 response develops.”
Until later this year, the chain’s annual Monopoly promotion has been paused, which was confirmed by a company spokesperson.
Mr Pomroy said: “This year’s prizes include a number of luxury holidays, European city breaks and cruises which will have all been impacted by current and ongoing restrictions on international travel.
“Following conversations with our suppliers and prize partners, we feel it is appropriate to delay the promotion until later this year.”