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Waffle House shutters 365 locations

The Waffle House restaurant chain announced Tuesday it is closing 365 locations across the country as companies grapple with the coronavirus outbreak.

With the closures, the popular chain has 1,627 sites still open, Waffle House said. The chain tweeted a photo showing closures in multiple states across the U.S.

Waffle House had said earlier this month it would try to keep its storefronts open and its nearly 45,000 employees at work, while offering carryout options.

"Our mission is to provide an essential service in our communities during difficult times for all, including first responders and health care providers," it said in a March 15 statement.

"We want to acknowledge the great efforts of our associates, who work hard every shift to create a safe, warm and welcoming dining experience 24 hours daily," it said. "We are working hard to support them as we do our best to manage through this crisis."

The Georgia-based chain rarely closes, leading to what is known as the Waffle House Index, an unofficial emergency system used to measure a storm's severity and impact on a community.

The closures come as the U.S. continues to contend with the coronavirus outbreak, with multiple states and cities across the country banning dine-in restaurants and other services as more than 55,000 Americans have been infected with the virus.

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