Nando’s, Costa Coffee and Subway latest chains to close all stores over virus

By Taz Ali, PA

Nando’s, Costa Coffee and Subway have become the latest food and drink firms to close all of their outlets in the UK amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The chicken chain said in a statement on its website on Sunday that all 420 stores will shut “until further notice”, with takeaway and delivery services also suspended.

The company, which employs around 18,000 people, said it is working closely with its teams across the UK to “make sure that everybody affected is supported during the coming weeks”.

The statement read: “The safety and security of our customers and team is always our top priority and with this in mind we have taken the decision to temporarily close all of our restaurants across the UK and Ireland during the course of today, 22nd March, to help limit the spread of Covid-19.

“Eat in, takeaway and delivery for customers will all stop until further notice and our remaining food will be given away to those who need it most across the community.”

Costa Coffee also announced on Monday that it would temporarily close the majority of its 2,700 cafes from Monday at 5pm.

A statement posted on its Twitter account said it would try to keep cafes open in hospitals, with NHS staff to receive free coffee for the next two weeks.

The coffee chain said more than 16,000 members of staff at closed stores will be paid their full average weekly pay over eight weeks.

Costa chief executive Jill McDonald said: “The majority of our 2,700 stores will close, however, where possible, our stores in hospitals and some service stations will remain open to help support key workers.”

Subway also told its followers on Twitter that it is closing all of its stores by 5pm on Monday.

In a statement, the high street food chain said: “We believe this is the best thing to support social distancing and keep everyone as healthy as possible for as long as possible.”

The company said it would continue to support frontline workers by donating food in the next few days.

It comes after McDonald’s announced all of its restaurants in the UK and Ireland will close by 7pm on Monday to protect the safety of its employees and customers.

The fast-food chain, which has 135,000 employees in the UK and Ireland, posted a statement about the “difficult decision” on Twitter – adding that stores will close by that time on Monday “at the latest”.

Meanwhile, KFC and Burger King remain open for takeaways, with seating areas temporarily closed.