A BUS company has warned that it is being forced to divert services due to huge queues protruding from a McDonald's restaurant.

This comes less than an hour before the fast food chain is due to close for the foreseeable future in a bid to help stop the spread of coronavirus by promoting social distancing.

McDonald's previously shut down the seating areas of its restaurants, but has now confirmed in a statement that all its sites will close at 7pm today.

As a result, hungry customers have flocked to the site in Eastern Avenue, Shoreham, which has a drive-thru.

A Brighton and Hove Buses spokeswoman said: "Queuing traffic into the McDonalds at Shoreham is creating major congestion.

"All BH2 services towards Shoreham and Steyning are diverting via Gordon Road.

"The Gordon Road and Skate Park bus stops cannot currently be served."

An AA spokesman said: "There is very slow traffic in Eastern Avenue from the A259 Brighton Road to Gordon Road, because of increased demands for Mc Donalds due to recent events."

McDonald's UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy explained the chain's decision.

He 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.

“This is not a decision we are taking lightly, but one made with the wellbeing and safety of our employees in mind as well as in the best interests of our customers.

“We will work with local community groups to responsibly distribute food and drink from our restaurants in the coming days.

“Thank you to our brilliant employees for their hard work during this incredibly challenging time.

“We look forward to seeing you all again as soon as it is safe for us to reopen.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal.  Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund