McDonald's, Nando's to shut down all UK restaurants, including takeout to curb COVID-19 outbreak

McDonald's and Nando's will close all their restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland starting Monday, including for takeout, to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald's UK and Ireland, said in a statement Sunday that the decision had been taken because it was "increasingly difficult" to maintain safe social distancing while operating "busy takeaway and drive thru restaurants."

The UK government has advised against all non-essential social contact and is urging people to keep a distance of at least two meters if they need to leave their homes.

On Friday, it ordered all pubs, bars and restaurants to close but said they could continue offering food and drink to go.

Nando's said in a statement that eat in, takeaway and delivery for customers "will all stop until further notice."

Both chains said food from restaurants will be distributed to those most in need.

McDonald's employs over 125,000 people across 1,280 restaurants in the United Kingdom, 86% of which were run by franchisees as of March 2019.

The company closed dining areas at its stores in the United States last week and urged franchisees to do the same. In several states, restaurants have been forced to do takeaway only.

Nando's has over 400 company-owned restaurants across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Neither of the companies immediately responded to requests for comment on whether they will continue to pay staff salaries while restaurants are closed, or whether they will approach the government for help paying wages.

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