VANCOUVER -- The Keg and Earls have announced they’re closing all of their restaurants across Canada and the U.S. due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Keg steakhouse chain, which originated in North Vancouver, said it made the "difficult but important" decision to temporarily cease operations after considering the advice of health officials on both sides of the border.

"We anticipate the closure will be no less than two weeks, but we will provide more updates as the situation evolves," company CEO David Aisenstat and president Nick Dean said in a public message.

"We look forward to reopening our doors when it is safe for you and our staff alike. We already can’t wait to celebrate your next visit. But in the meantime, stay safe and take care."

The company acknowledged the closures will have an impact on employees, and promised to "continue to support them by providing resources to minimize their financial burden." It’s unclear what those resources will look like.

An internal message to staff obtained by CTV News doesn’t specify the nature of the support either but promises more details in the next few days.

"As a Keg team, we have always had each other’s backs and we will have your backs during this unprecedented time," it reads.

There are currently at least 160 Keg locations across Canada and the U.S., including 20 in British Columbia.

Four of those are in Vancouver, which has seen numerous other businesses, services and attractions closed down in recent days, including all Vancouver Public Library locations, the Vancouver Art Gallery and Science World.

B.C.-based Earls Restaurants initially announced plans to operate its 66 locations across North America at half capacity to encourage social distancing, but decided to close down completely on Tuesday.

“Like many of you, we have been watching the news about COVID-19 as it rapidly evolves and changes moment to moment,” president Mo Jessa said in a statement. “Following consultation and actively listening to our guest and staff feedback, we have made the decision to close all of our locations across the U.S. and Canada immediately, until it is deemed safe to reopen in consultation with public health authorities.”

The company said it will still pay hourly workers for all scheduled shifts while keeping management “full compensated.”

“We know this will help to ensure the health and well-being of our people, their families and communities,” Jessa said.