London : McDonald's will shut down all restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland by Monday evening (local time) to help maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, McDonald's UK and Ireland CEO Paul Pomroy said in a statement.
Last week, McDonald's had closed all its seating areas in the UK and Ireland and limited all operations to take away, drive-through and delivery options.
"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 7 pm on Monday 23rd March," Pomroy said.
He said McDonald's would be working closely with community groups in the UK and Ireland in the coming days to distribute food from its restaurants to those most in need. He also said that frontline health workers and emergency services personnel can get food and drink at any McDonald's restaurant with their work pass free of charge.
The UK has reported more than 5,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, while more than 230 people have died of the infection so far, as per the data available on the World Health Organisation website.