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Coronavirus: McDonald’s fans queue for ‘one last Big Mac’ as police are called in

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McDonald’s faithful fans queued for more than an hour to get their hands on their last Big Mac or Happy Meal for some time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fast food giant is shutting all of its restaurants in the UK – joining other chains including Costa Coffee, Subway and Nando’s – as a total lockdown looms.

Hungry customers eager to get a final feed at the popular chain told of queueing for nearly two hours to get their meals today.

Police even had to be called to a McDonald’s in Barnwell, Cambridgeshire, where they were “asking people to leave”, as customers ignored social distancing guidelines.

Pictures taken at the fast food restaurant in Barnwell showed officers inside assisting with large queues of customers.

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Police are called to the McDonald’s in Barnwell, Cambridgeshire

The drive-thru fills up fast at a McDonald’s in Hull

According to Cambridgeshire Live, officers were called in to reports of disorder as the drive-through traffic backed onto a main road and customers outside ignored the social distancing marks outlined on the floor.

Brits are not yet barred from public places but have been warned if they do go outdoors they must stand at least two metres apart.

A Cambridge resident said her boyfriend was at McDonald’s in order to pick up food for deliveries when he spotted police “telling people to leave.”.

She said: “This makes me so angry. What don’t people understand about distancing? Or only going out when necessary?

A police car heads into McDonald’s Hull as long queues form

The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are:

  • a dry, persistent cough
  • a fever

If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately self-isolate yourself for seven days.

It is not necessary to call NHS 111 unless your symptoms get more severe.

Some patients have reported fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath and aches and pains. Sneezing is not a symptom of the coronavirus.

“These are photos my partner has taken, he is a delivery driver which is why he was there, he is now having to wait outside for the food so he can then deliver to the customers, people really are selfish.

“Drive-through traffic is backing up Barnwell Road and inside the restaurant people are ignoring the squares clearly marked on the floor.

“Police have been called to remove people from the restaurant as there are too many people. They have been telling people to leave.

“There were around 40 – 50 people but now it’s about 15 after police arrived.”

McDonald’s bosses say it is closing to protect customers and staff

Mum-of-three and NHS nurse Jo Hall – who eats a Big Mac “every day” – queued for 90 minutes before she even placed her order at a McDonald’s in Leyland, Lancashire, on Monday, just hours before last orders.

The 32-year-old said: “I have never seen anything like it, it is absolute mayhem. Feels like everyone in the town has turned up for a final Big Mac.”

“I’ve been having a Big Mac every day for my tea on the way home from the hospital.

“I can’t believe this is the last time I’ll get to eat one.

Huge queues snake out from the drive thru of a Merthyr Tydfil McDonald’s in Wales

“Was worth the wait though as because I’m a nurse our entire order was free.”

There were similar scenes at McDonald’s restaurants across the country as all 1,350 outlets prepared to close, likely for several weeks.

Those experiencing coronavirus symptoms, such as a cough or fever, should self-isolate for 14 days.

You should stay at home if you or or anyone in your household has a high temperature or a new and continuous cough – even if it’s mild.

  • Everyone in your household must stay at home for 14 days and keep away from others
  • DO NOT go to your GP or hospital.
  • Go to NHS.UK to check your symptoms and follow the specialist medical advice.
  • Only call 111 if you can’t get online, you feel like you can’t cope at home, or your symptoms do not get better after the seven days.
  • If you are pregnant you should call 111 if you have any concerns about yourself or unborn baby during self-isolation.
  • Pregnant women are advised to contact their midwife, out-of-hours helplines or a maternity team who will provide information on whether you need to go to hospital.

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson told restaurants to close last week, they were allowed to continue takeaway and drive-thru service.

McDonald’s staff patrol the drive thru near Dover, Kent

However, many have now announced they will be ceasing all operations for the time being.

Cars and Deliveroo drivers waited to load up on burgers and fries in Longbridge in Birmingham.

Driver James Dixon, 22, of Birmingham, said: “I can’t live without my Big Mac. I just wanted to have one last one before everyone goes into lockdown.

“I reckon by the end of the week the whole country will be ordered to stay in their homes so I wanted to have one last chance to have a Maccies.”

Queues spill out for McDonald in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire

It comes as shoppers desert UK high streets, with footfall down 41% across the UK last week, according to Springboard.

Officials are urging Brits to stay home, and pubs, clubs, restaurants and other leisure spots have been ordered to close their doors.

Cafes and restaurants are now only allowed to offer take-out food and drink.

A growing number of chains, including Nando’s, Costa Coffee and Subway, have shut completely in Britain until the coronavirus crisis abates.

Chicken chain Nando’s said yesterday all 420 stores will shut “until further notice”, with takeaway and delivery services also suspended.

The Borehamwood McDonald’s gets busy

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

Subway also told its followers on Twitter that it is closing all of its stores by the same time today

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

Avast queue snakes out of a Hull McDonald’s

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”.

Chief executive for the UK and Ireland Paul Pomroy said it had become clear that maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy takeaway and Drive Thru restaurants was “increasingly difficult.”

Hungry customers queue at a McDonald’s in Hull

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Coronavirus outbreak

He added: “We have not taken this decision lightly and know that our restaurants have been playing an important role in the community providing hundreds of thousands of free drinks to frontline health and social workers and emergency services personnel.

“But 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 to temporarily close.

We will be working closely with community groups across the UK and Ireland to distribute food from our restaurants to those most in need, and ahead of closing tomorrow evening, will ensure frontline health workers and emergency services personnel do not have to pay for any food or drink in our restaurants on sight of their work pass.”

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

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