There is something deeply satisfying about sliding on in to an air-conditioned fast food restaurant and eating a big old burger and fries. But COVID-19 has changed the way businesses are able to handle their customers, with most places focusing on takeout windows rather than dining room service. So what about the biggest player in the fast food game? Are McDonald's dining rooms open?
It seems a plan to re-start service inside restaurants has been put on pause as COVID-19 numbers continue to climb. Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald's USA, and Mark Salebra, chair of the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance, sent a letter to McDonald's franchise owners on Wednesday regarding plans to open their dining rooms. As per CNN, the letter noted in part: "Keeping with our thoughtful approach to reopening, effective today, we are pausing all dine-in reopening plans for 21 days."
This letter comes as several states across the country have seen an alarming jump in COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks, as The Guardian reported. This has caused states like Michigan, Florida, and Colorado to consider a roll back on reopening plans in an effort to stop the further spread of the coronavirus, according to CNBC.
Erlinger and Salebra added in the letter that any of the local franchises that have already chosen to open dining rooms had the freedom to stay open so long as there are not any issues with local officials, stating, "To be clear: owner/operators will make the final decision in these situations." As of the beginning of July, around 2,200 McDonald's dining rooms were open in the United States, according to CNBC, which is around 15% of the total number of franchises in the country.
The two men also noted that while plans to reopen dining rooms have been put on pause, franchisees should still be practicing safety measures like physical distancing, face masks, and even temperature check procedures to ensure staff and customers are as safe as possible. "This surge shows nobody is exempt from this virus — even places that previously had very few cases. Moving forward, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust as needed to protect the safety of our employees and customers.”
Takeout windows will still be available, of course. But for the time being, everyone is going to have to stay real comfortable with eating their McDonald's fries in the car on the way home.
Or maybe that's just me.
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