- McDonald's is closing all of its restaurants in the UK and Ireland on Monday. The closings will impact more than 135,000 workers.
- The chain had previously closed the seating areas of its restaurants and moved to takeaway, delivery, and drive-thru options only.
- In the US, sit-down dining areas in its restaurants have also closed but the chain is fighting to stay open.
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McDonald's is closing all of its restaurants in the UK and Ireland on Monday.
The fast-food chain announced on Sunday that it had "taken the difficult decision" to close more than 1,270 locations across the UK and Ireland, which employ more than 135,000 workers, as the coronavirus infection continues to spread.
The chain had previously closed the seating areas of its restaurants and moved to takeout, delivery, and drive-thru options only.
"We have not taken this decision lightly and know that our restaurants have been playing an important role in the community providing hundreds of thousands of free drinks to frontline health and social workers and emergency services personnel.
"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," McDonald's UK and Ireland CEO Paul Pomroy said in a statement to the press on Sunday.
Pomroy said that McDonald's will be serving free food and drink to emergency services workers and frontline health workers ahead of the closure. It will also be working with local communities to distribute the food from its restaurants to people in need, he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that all pubs, restaurants, and cafes must close from Friday onward – these businesses are limited to offering customers takeout food and drink only.
While McDonald's in the US has closed its dining areas, it is still operating its takeaway, delivery, and drive-thru services, and along with other major fast-food chains in the US, it has been fighting to stay open.
Business Insider's Kate Taylor reported that some of the top fast-food leaders – the president of McDonald's US business, CEOs of Chick-fil-A, Papa John's, and Restaurant Brands International, the parent company behind Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons – had a call with President Trump to discuss how they could be vital in continuing to feed America.
"The challenge here is that when you're dealing with a circumstance like this, if we don't utilize businesses like Burger King, Tim's and Popeyes ... It's really difficult for Americans to be fed, because it's going to be difficult for them to get all their other food and necessities from the supermarket," Restaurant Brands International CEO José Cil told Business Insider.