Hundreds of families rush to McDonald's for final fast food fix ahead of national shutdown
Hundreds of families are stuck in queues at McDonald's drive-thrus across Lancashire as the fast food chain's national shutdown looms.
It was announced that all 1,270 McDonald's restaurants in the UK and Ireland will close by 7pm on Monday to protect the safety of staff and customers from coronavirus.
The fast food giant said many restaurants could close even earlier, prompting a rush on McDonald's drive-thrus this afternoon.
At the Capitol Centre in Preston, dozens of cars could be seen snaking around the Golden Arches, blocking traffic on the retail centre's car park.
McDonald's has not said when it will next be serving up its famous burgers and fries, but said the closure will remain in force until further notice.
A McDonald's spokesman said: "We will be working closely with community groups across the UK and Ireland to distribute food from our restaurants to those most in need.
"Ahead of closing, all frontline health workers and emergency services personnel will get food and drink for free on sight of an ID."
On Friday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said restaurants and cafes must close, but exempted takeaway food places.
But McDonald's has decided to voluntarily close to the public from today (March 23).
Nando's said it has closed its approximately 400 restaurants in the UK "until further notice".
Costa Coffee, sushi chain Itsu and sandwich bar Subway also plan to close their UK branches later today.
The chains said they wanted to protect the wellbeing of staff and customers during the coronavirus outbreak.
McDonald's UK boss, Paul Pomroy, 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, March 23.
"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."
Previously, McDonald's had closed its seating areas but had continued to offer takeaway and drive-through services.