McDonald's will temporarily close all its restaurants in Ireland and the UK.

In a statement, it said all its outlets will be shut by 7pm tomorrow.

The fast-food company said: "This is not a decision we are taking lightly but one made with the well-being and safety of our employees in mind as well as the best interests of our customers."

Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's UK & Ireland Paul Pomroy said: "Over the last 24 hours, it has become clear that maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy takeaway and Drive Thru restaurants is increasingly difficult.

"Therefore we have taken the decision to close every restaurant in the UK and Ireland by 7pm on Monday 23 March at the latest."

McDonald's added it will work with the local community groups to distribute food and drink from their restaurants in the coming days.

Last year, saw McDonald's open five new restaurants in Ireland, bringing the total number of outlets in the Republic of Ireland to 95.

The Irish Farmers' Association said the decision by McDonald's was a "big blow" to the Irish beef sector as it described the company as "important buyer of Irish beef".