SINGAPORE - All McDonald's branches in Singapore will be closed from 11am on Sunday (April 19) until May 4, but the fast food giant has offered assurances that it will continue to pay its staff.
This comes after seven of its employees tested positive for Covid-19 in the past week.
Announcing the move on Facebook Sunday morning, McDonald's said that all restaurant operations will be suspended, including its delivery and takeaway services.
"As a preventative action in the fight against Covid-19, we've been advised by the Ministry of Health to suspend all restaurant operations, including McDelivery and Drive-Thru, until May 4," said the post.
"We'll be closing all restaurants today, 19 April at 11am and will take our last Drive-Thru and Delivery orders at 8am and 10.30am, respectively."
The fast food giant with over 130 outlets here had on Saturday suspended its walk-in takeaway service.
In response to queries, McDonald's told ST that its outlets in Changi Airport Terminal 3 and a drive-through outlet at a Shell petrol kiosk in Tampines Avenue 2 were to be closed for deep-cleaning after two employees had tested positive for Covid-19.
This comes after five other of its employees were diagnosed with the disease last Sunday. They worked at outlets in Lido, Forum Galleria, Parklane and Geylang East Central.
On its Facebook post on Sunday, McDonald's said that its decision to close all its branches was made to take care of its customers and its workers.
It said: "These are unprecedented times for all of us. With the safety of all our customers and employees as the top priority, we will do all we can to help Singapore flatten the curve.
"From all of us at McDonald's Singapore, we thank you for your continued support. We'll miss you and look forward to serving you again."
McDonald's employs more than 10,000 people in Singapore and serves more than 6 million customers every month.
In response to queries from ST, a spokesman from McDonald's said that it will continue to pay the salaries of all employees whose roles are disrupted.
"The next two weeks will allow our employees to stay home and be assured that their jobs are secure," added the spokesman.
When asked what will be done about McDonald's stock of food, he said that all perishables with a short shelf life will be discarded on Sunday.
He also said that McDonald's acted as soon as it was advised my MOH to suspend its operations, but did not specify when this took place.
Many here tried to make one last order via the McDonald's delivery app and website in the few hours between when the news broke and when the suspension kicked in on Sunday.
But not everyone was successful and some said that McDonald's could not cope with its orders.
Mr Shane Tan, who tried to order breakfast from McDonald's website, gave up after waiting for fifteen minutes for the website to load.
"It is so abrupt that McDonald's decided to close now, especially since they were running promotions until yesterday. I hope that they can return soon because during these times, they provide not just fast food but comfort food," said Mr Tan, who works in the media industry and is in his 30s.
Another disappointed customer was Mr Koh Zhiwei, who said that he would miss being able to order McDonald's, which delivers 24 hours, in the middle of the night.
"This temporary shutdown is also a shutdown of what little normalcy remains during this circuit breaker period. How else are we going to satisfy 2am hunger pangs when we cannot leave our homes now?"
On a Facebook post on Sunday afternoon, KFC said that it was experiencing a "recent increase in demand" and added that from Monday onward, all delivery and takeaway orders that customers make online will be made contactless.
Singapore's ongoing circuit breaker period, now on till May 4, will see most workplaces being closed, schools transitioning to full home-based learning and most people staying at home to practise safe distancing in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.
It reported 942 new cases on Saturday, of which 893 were work permit holders living in foreign worker dormitories.
This brings the total number of cases here to 5,992.