McDonald’s halts dine-in service reopening plans due to spike in US COVID-19 cases

McDonald’s is halting its reopening plans, which includes the reintroduction of dine-in service, due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and increasing mobility ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend in the U.S.

A letter sent by McDonald’s President Joe Erlinger and NFLA Chair Mark Salebra indicates that the chain will be pausing its dine-in reopening plans for three weeks. 

In the letter, McDonald’s advises its locations that have already reopened their dining rooms to review any new guidance from local and state governments that may require rolling back to drive-thru, delivery or take-out options.

Because there is no larger federal lockdown order in place, McDonald’s within individual states and cities may have had the ability to reopen their dining rooms, if the actions were in accordance with local health mandates.

“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,” according to the letter.

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McDonald’s had unveiled its plans for reopening its dining areas back in May. In addition to changes in service, McDonald’s locations implemented measures to accommodate social distancing, and have required employees to wear masks.

The announcement from the fast-food chain comes as multiple areas across the country are reinforcing lockdown restrictions in efforts to clamp down on surging COVID-19 cases. California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars to close and restaurants to cease dine-in services in several counties this week due to rising COVID-19 case numbers.

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On several recent days in June, there had been more than 40,000 new daily COVID-19 cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Congress this week that the U.S. may hit 100,000 new COVID-19 cases daily if the situation does not improve.

“I can’t make an accurate prediction, but it’s going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that. Because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country, even though in other parts of the country they’re doing well, they are vulnerable,” Fauci said.

“We can’t just focus on areas that are having the surge, it puts the entire country at risk,” he noted.