McDonald’s to close restaurants in UK and Ireland on Monday | World news
All McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will close by 7pm on Monday to protect the safety of employees and customers, the company said.
The announcement followed news from other retailers including Waterstones, Primark and Patisserie Valerie that they would also close.
The fast-food company said it had taken the “difficult decision” in a statement posted to Twitter – adding that stores will close by that time on Monday “at the latest”.
The decision comes after Boris Johnson called for pubs, clubs and restaurants to shut on Friday.
The company had already removed all its seating areas but was continuing to serve takeaway food.
In a statement on Sunday night, UK and Ireland CEO Paul Pomroy 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.
“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 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.”
Earlier, Waterstones said it would close its 280 UK branches from Monday. Only hours previously its chief executive, James Daunt, had said the bookstore chain was “no different to a supermarket or a pharmacy” and would stay open during the coronavirus shutdown.
However, he said the chain had decided to close after some staff complained that they felt at risk in the stores and had not been given any protective equipment such as hand sanitiser or gloves.
Fashion retailer Primark closed all 189 of its UK stores from Sunday evening. About 37,000 employees will be affected by the closures but will be provided with full pay for 14 days, the company said.
That came after other clothing and fashion chains including John Lewis, Kurt Geiger, New Look and Topshop announced store closures. “Our main priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees,” a spokesman for Primark said.
Other retailers have been forced to temporarily close, in line with government guidelines on social distancing.
Media retailer HMV said it was closing “with a heavy heart”, adding that it had kept its stores open for as long as possible because of “how much entertainment can support people during difficult times”.
Timpson chief executive James Timpson tweeted that that the company’s shoe repair stores were going into “hibernation” – with all 2,150 outlets closing by 5pm on Monday, but “all our wonderful colleagues will remain on full pay”.