Fast good giants McDonald's will close all 1,350 outlets in the UK and Ireland tomorrow as coronavirus tightens its grip.
They will all be shut by 7pm tomorrow say the restaurant chain – despite admitting they are on the frontline in the efforts to beat the virus.
In a statement, the fast food giant confirmed it had taken the "difficult decision" to close the branches until "it is safe for us to reopen".
Chief Executive Officer Paul Pomroy said they will distribute free food to 'those in needs' from the restaurants – with emergency workers to get free meals and drinks.
In a statement he 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 23rd March at the latest.
"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.
"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.
"I want to thank every single one of our 135,000 employees.
"I am so proud of them all for adapting so quickly to a constantly evolving work environment, taking every step to keep our customers, couriers and teams safe and looking after each other so very well.
"We will continue to update you thorough our website, social media channels and email alerts in the coming weeks but in the meantime we thank you for your continued support and custom."
Mr Pomroy said: "I am incredibly grateful to our brilliant employees who have been working hard to continue to serve you safely in difficult circumstances."
The news was met with dismay by some of the loyal customer, with one saying: "Wishing you all well. Stay strong. Stay safe. See you for the good times soon."
Another added: "Perhaps this is when the younger generation start to realise how serious this situation is."
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