QUEUES of traffic outside a McDonald’s drive-thru is causing chaos on the roads today.

Cars have been lining up outside the takeaway on the outskirts of Bishop Auckland for much of the morning, as diners squeeze in one last McDonald’s meal before all branches are expected to shut by 7pm tonight.

Traffic is said to be building up from the restaurant, on Abraham Retail Park, St Helen Auckland, back to the main roads in both directions.

This is causing problems for motorists in the area.

The Northern Echo:

One bystander said: "It is often busy at the Drive Thru but this is a nightmare, the roads can hardly cope as it is.

"I think quite a lot of the customers are parents whose children are off school."

Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison urged people to be sensible, tweeting: "The McNugget lover in me is devastated.

"But, to repeat my advice about the pubs, don’t use this as a last chance to cram into a Maccies for one last meal before shutdown. "Once we’re out the other side, think about how fantastic that Big Mac will taste."

McDonald’s had previously closed its seating areas but continued to offer takeaway and drive-through services.

Yesterday, the company announced it would close all 1,270 of its restaurants in the UK by the end of Monday and franchise branches are expected to follow suit.

The chain said staff employed directly by the company would receive full pay for their scheduled hours until April 5.

McDonald's UK boss, Paul Pomroy, said: "It has become clear that maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy takeaway and Drive Thru restaurants is increasingly difficult and therefore we have taken the decision to close every restaurant in the UK and Ireland by 7pm on Monday 23 March.

"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."