McDonald's, Nando's, Costa, Primark and New Look all close in battle to slow coronavirus

Food chains reassure staff wages will be paid until Government package kicks in
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McDonald's will close its 19 restaurants in Northamptonshire by 7pm tonight (Monday March 23) in the battle to slow the coronavirus pandemic.

Nando's shut down last night and Costa announced this morning it will follow suit — although its coffee shops in Kettering General will remain open for as long as possible to support workers.

Costa will continue paying staff their average wages for the next eight weeks by when the Government's aid package will have kicked in.

On Friday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to pay 80 per cent of wages, up to £2,500 a month.

A statement from Costa said: "We will do our best to keep stores open in hospitals where we will continue to provide free takeaway coffee for the next two weeks to the NHS workers who are at the forefront of this crisis.

"We will be paying all our store team members, whose store has closed, their full average weekly pay over eight weeks."

Fashion giants Primark and New Look have already put up the shutters as the county goes into self-imposed lockdown in response to Government pleas for people to stay at home.

McDonald's 19 restaurants in Northamptonshire will close at 7pm tonightMcDonald's 19 restaurants in Northamptonshire will close at 7pm tonight
McDonald's 19 restaurants in Northamptonshire will close at 7pm tonight

Burger chain McDonalds announced the move late last night but pledged to pay staff employed directly — many of them on zero-hour contracts — for their scheduled shifts until April 5 and wants franchises, which have their own policies on pay, to follow that lead.

McDonald's had already ditched dining in and turned to takeaway only to protect its staff even before Friday's Government order for cafes, pubs and restaurants — except takeaways — to their doors.

Primark stores at Northampton's Grosvenor Centre, Rushden Lakes and Corby will not open on Monday morning, Five New Look stores also closed on Saturday night and will stay shuttered for the foreseeable future.

Primark chief executve Paul Marchant admitted: “This situation has been so fast moving. We could not have foreseen that over the course of a week, our stores in every country in which we operate have had to close. This is unprecedented action for unprecedented and frankly unimaginable times.”

The shutdown will also affect Primark's warehouse at Islip.