McDonald's Delays Reopening Dining Rooms Due to Surge in Coronavirus Cases

The fast-food chain will revisit the possibility of opening its sit-in services in three weeks


McDonald's is the latest restaurant to announce delays in reopening due to a surge in coronavirus cases.

About 2,000 of the fast-food chain's 14,000 U.S. locations had reopened sit-down dining services by mid-June, but recent climbing case numbers of the coronavirus have made executives at McDonald's rethink their reopening strategy.

The Wall Street Journal originally reported that the chain made an announcement last week in an internal letter sent to owners and franchisees that indoor dining would not reopen for at least three weeks. "Our resiliency will be tested again," Joe Erlinger, McDonald's U.S. President and Mark Salebra, the head of the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance said in the announcement. "COVID-19 cases are on the rise—with a 65 [percent] increase in infections over the last two weeks. In the last seven days, 32 states saw increasing cases and this number appears to be growing."

Locations that have already opened for sit-in dining are not required to close but are advised to listen to the advice of local and state officials on whether to stay open or revert back to drive-thru, takeout, and delivery services.

McDonald's has outlined and implemented new safety measures that are required of all locations as they slowly start to reopen amid the pandemic. Employees continue to wear masks and gloves while on the clock and will spend more time disinfecting tabletops, seats, and other surfaces in between uses. Hand sanitation stations are being installed and workers are required to wash their hands hourly.

New measures for in-dining include roping off some tables to ensure social distancing measures are being followed, keeping children's play areas closed, and closing self-serve soda machines to minimize contact. Bathrooms will also be cleaned every half hour. Some locations will require a maximum capacity of 25 to 50 percent, depending on state and local guidelines.

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