SHOPS have closed their doors and events have been cancelled as part of measures to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Big name brands across Colchester and Clacton town centres have shut up shop until further notice.

Chains Nando’s, McDonalds, Coast Coffee and Subway were among the latest to close their shops.

Nando’s said takeaway and delivery services were also suspended.

A statement posted on its Twitter account Costa Coffee said it would try to keep cafés open in hospitals, with NHS staff to receive free coffee for the next two weeks.

The coffee chain said more than 16,000 members of staff at closed stores will be paid their full average weekly pay over eight weeks.

Patisseries Valerie, which has a café in Colchester, also closed its doors.

Other brands to close their doors to shoppers include Card Factory, Primark, HMV, Waterstones, Topshop and New Look.

Parkdean, which runs holidays parks in Mersea, Clacton and Weeley, has closed its doors to holidaymakers until May 1.

Customers will be offered a refund or options for a voucher.

Steve Richards, chief executive officer, said: “Parkdean Resorts has 67 parks across the UK and our company plays a big role in communities, whether it be through investment, tourism or employment.

“As such, we have been in conversation with community leaders, customers and our people, and have decided to delay the launch of the season.

“We are sorry to the many holiday makers who were hoping to spend their Easter break with us, but I hope they understand why.

“We will continually and closely review the Government’s guidance and hope to welcome people on park from May 1.”

Mr Richards said no staff would be made redundant and they will continue to receive their full salary during the closure.

Food which had been bought ahead of the Easter holidays will be donated to foodbanks.

The Harwich Society has announced Bobbit’s Hole nature reserve, in Main Road, Dovercourt, has also closed following Government guidelines.

Colin Farnell, chairman of Harwich Society, said: “Our members are used to playing an active role within the community and I’m sure those able to do so safely will be involved in the community response to this unprecedented pandemic.

“We must also recognise that nothing is more important than the health and safety of our volunteers and our visitors, so we believe it is necessary to take this action.”

A number of events have also been cancelled or postponed.

Essex Young Farmers have called off their 2020 show.

In a statement on Facebook they said: “The decision has been based on Government advice and our own concerns for all those involved with the show. The bulk of the committee who were planning this year’s show will stay in office for next year where plans are already underway.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who had already pledged their support to our 2020 show and hope you will get involved in future years.”

Harwich Festival organisers have announced “with great sadness” the festival has been cancelled.

Peter Davis, artistic director, said: “Our first priority has to be the health and well-being of our audience, artists, volunteers, staff and everyone who is involved with the Harwich Festival.

“Following the Governments advice to avoid unnecessary gatherings and to protect the vulnerable people in our community with social distancing, this has now become an unavoidable reality.

“We thank you for your understanding and continued support of the festival.

“We will, of course, be back once the situation has improved.”