COSTA Coffee stores are to go cashless and have no in-house seating from today, as the firm became the latest company to announce a string of measures to combat the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The chain made the announcement this afternoon – following in the wake of a number of announcements by other retailers and fast food outlets, such as McDonald’s.

As part of wider measures on “social distancing”, the company said it would also be stocking a “more limited” food range, and added that all drinks and food would be served in takeaway cups and containers.

A spokesman said: “As the nation’s favourite coffee shop, we are committed to providing you with a clean and safe environment. The safety of our customers and our store teams is our number one priority, no more so than when operating in unprecedented times.

“As we continue to follow the advice and recommendations from the government and health authorities, we have made several changes to our stores to help support in social distancing.

“Starting from today (Thursday 19 March), all stores will be cashless and seating areas will be closed for customer use to help support government guidance on social distancing.

“We will serve all drinks in takeaway cups and food in takeaway packaging. We won’t be able to serve you your drink in your reusable cup but we will honour our 25p discount if you bring it into store.

“All stores will also have a more limited food range but we will be sure to stock Costa Coffee favourites and make sure we have choice available for all dietary requirements and preferences.

“We truly believe these changes will help us protect you and our store teams. We would like to thank you in advance for your support and assure you that these changes are temporary and will be regularly reviewed.

“These are difficult times and where we can provide a safe and familiar environment in your community, we hope to do so.