The UK's National Federation of Fish Fryers is advising fish and chip shops across the country to close, saying it is unable to guarantee the safety of employees and the general public.

It follows an announcement on Monday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who effectively put the United Kingdom under lock down.

"Without help with marshaling queues and with government guidelines we cannot guarantee the safety of our employees and the general public," NFF said in a statement on its website.

"Some businesses may operate a delivery service and if they can satisfy themselves that they can operate safely and within government guidelines then that may be an option for them."

Closures of fish and chip shops is having knock on effects for Grimsby fish merchants and the town’s fish market, both main suppliers to the UK’s fish and chip shop industry.

“My members are seeing the majority of their clients closing down,” Grimbsy Fish Merchants spokesperson Simon Dwyer told IntraFish.

“I can’t put a number on it but it is significant enough for them to temporarily close and its significant enough for the fish market not to open.”

National Fish Fryers Federation President Andrew Crook said the industry would be standing by to help if called on to help with food supply.

"We have 10,000 fish and chip shops who are each able to feed thousands of people with a nutritious meal. If we are needed to provide any assistance in a humanitarian capacity I know I can guarantee shops will be willing to reopen," he said.

"This is an awful situation for all, we will get through this and fish and chips will live on."

Crook said the association would reassess the closure advice on a weekly basis.

Fish and chips shops, meanwhile, have been reaching out to customers and the public announcing their closures, drawing messages of support.

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