The Costa Coffee chain is shutting its 2,300-plus coffee shops by close of play tonight.
CEO Jill McDonald delivered the news in the message below:
'At Costa Coffee our number one priority is the safety of our store teams and customers. As the need to support social distancing increases, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our stores from this evening, Monday 23 March.
We will do our best to keep Costa 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.
Wherever possible, we will also keep our Costa Express machines available to serve you a great cup of coffee.
Supporting our store teams
Our baristas are the heart of our business. During these unprecedented times, we are extremely grateful for the service they have continued to deliver to our customers.
As previously communicated, we will be paying all our store team members, whose store has closed, their full average weekly pay over eight weeks.
Supporting our communities
Whilst our stores will be closed, our commitment to our communities does not stop.
We have pledged to provide support to those in need over the coming weeks and months, providing food and drink, and allowing our teams to support their own communities locally.
We started last week, providing free coffee to our critical NHS workers. This week we will continue by delivering one million cans of coffee to other key workers across the country.
We will be sharing more information about the other work we’re doing on our website and social media channels.
I want to take this opportunity to thank our store teams, who during a lot of uncertainty over the past few weeks have continued to provide a warm and welcoming environment, and great service to our loyal customers.
To our customers, thank you for your ongoing support – we know these are difficult and unsettling times and through our community work we hope to be able to continue serving you, and your friends and families in some way.
I will continue to be in touch over the coming weeks and look forward to welcoming you back into our stores soon.
Thank you and take care.'