One of the largest fast food retailers, McDonald’s has become one of the latest chains in the UK to close its doors to the public due to the impact of COVID19, believing it is a way to help reduce the spread of the disease.
“The busiest day we’ve had this year”
Matthew Campbell, Mcdonald’s employee
McDonald’s published a statement on Sunday, 22nd March expressing sadness at the “difficult decision” to close all its stores in the UK and Ireland, and looking forward to when it was safe enough to reopen. The last day of business was Monday, 23rd March.
News quickly spread that all McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland would be closed by 7pm and a lot of the country rushed to their nearest McDonald’s to have their last meal, causing enormous queues.
People were willing to queue for 40 minutes for what would be their last McDonald’s meal for the foreseeable future. Food delivery companies such as Uber Eats and Just Eat had a one-hour wait for deliveries from the fast food chain.
McDonald’s did comply with the government’s recommendations of a two-metre distance for people ordering and taking away food in store. With the virus spreading quickly, the company felt it had no other option than to close all stores nationwide.
Matthew Campbell is one of the many employees who was working all day on the 23rd, in McDonald’s, Western Avenue, Cardiff.
“We had to go outside and turn people away,” he said. Western Avenue McDonald’s closed its doors at 2pm but staff stayed until 7pm to “deep clean the whole restaurant”. This McDonald’s is very busy because it is on a major road by a big Tesco Extra and links onto the duel carriageway into the city centre. It is also a one-minute drive away from Wales’ biggest hospital.
The outbreak of COVID19 saw frontline NHS workers going in for free drinks and on McDonald’s last working day they were giving NHS staff free food, which also added to the chaos.
Some people were “ordering up to 17 Big Macs at a time. People were showing up 20 minutes after we closed trying to get in,” said Mathew.
Queen Street Mcdonald’s in Cardiff’s city centre was very quiet. Matthew said this was because it did not have a drive-through.
The closure of McDonald’s came after Boris Johnson made a statement on Friday, 20th March explaining all pubs, clubs and restaurants should close that evening. However, takeaways still remain open.