FRIED chicken chain KFC is to close all its restaurants by Wednesday due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The popular fast food outlet will begin closing shops from this evening to "help protect the wellbeing and safety of our teams and of our guests".
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In a statement on social media, the chain said: "It's not a decision we've taken lightly, but it's in the best interests of both out incredible teams and all the fans that love our chicken."
KFC has more than 900 branches in the UK and employs around 24,000 members of staff.
It hasn't made it clear whether the food chain will continue to pay workers while the shops are closed.
It comes as McDonald's announced that it will be closing all stores from 7pm tonight, while Greggs has said that it will temporarily shut all branches by the end of play tomorrow.
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Many outlets had moved to offering takeaway service only following government orders for all pubs, restaurants and cafes to close on Friday night.
KFC plans to give away any unused food to charity, through its Food Donation Scheme to make sure it goes to "those who need it most".
The statement continued: "Finally, to all of our teams who have been working under such tricky and uncertain circumstances, we thank you deeply. You've been amazing.
"More updates to come – we'll keep you posted.
"Until then, stay safe and look after each other… we're looking forward to winging our way back to you soon!"
The closures come as reports that Boris Johnson may have to enforce a lockdown within 24 hours unless Brits stay at home and keep two metres apart.
Over the weekend, people flocked to beaches and public parks even though they had been told only to leave their homes if it is essential.
This is to limit the spread of the virus to help the NHS cope with an influx of the most severe cases.
Workers who have been affected by the closures may be able to get help through Universal Credit or other benefits.
The government has also announced a coronavirus jobs retention package which it hopes will keep one million workers in jobs after the outbreak.
Which brands are shutting up shop
HERE is the list of all the retailers that are closing their doors thanks to coronavirus
- Calvin Klein
- Costa Coffee
- Dorothy Perkins
- The Entertainer
- John Lewis
- Krispy Kreme
- Marie Curie
- Miss Selfridge
- Patisserie Valerie
- Pizza Express
- Pret A Manger
- Sweaty Betty
- The Works
- TK Maxx
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