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 135,000 people across more than 1,350 restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 86% of which were run by franchisees as of March 2019.
A spokesperson for McDonald’s said Monday that employees of company-owned restaurants would be paid for their scheduled hours until April 5. The spokesperson added that “franchisees set their own pay and conditions for their employees.”
“We are working closely with our franchisees during this challenging time and have shared our company guidance on pay for those employees who need to self-isolate or who contract coronavirus,” the spokesperson said.
McDonald’s said it will ensure that employees who are eligible can “fully benefit” from the support packages announced by the UK and Irish governments.
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.
The company did not respond to requests for comment on whether it will continue to pay staff salaries while restaurants are closed, or whether it will approach the government for help paying wages.