Coronavirus: McDonald's becomes a takeaway outlet as it closes seating areas

The closed off seating area inside a McDonald's restaurant in Leicester, as all McDonalds restaurants in the UK and Ireland become takeaways as the company attempts to cope with the coronavirus. (PA)

All branches of Mcdonald’s (MCD) in the UK and Ireland will close their restaurant seating areas and operate as takeaway outlets only in an attempt to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Every restaurant will ditch dine-in options, shut seating and close children’s play areas, but carry on with takeaways, drive-thrus and delivery operations. The public will also be able to use toilet facilities.

Mcdonald’s chief executive Paul Pomroy wrote in a statement: “Our restaurants will remain open for as long as it is safe to do so.

“In the last 24 hours it has become clear that we need to temporarily change our operations to ensure the wellbeing of our employees and customers consistent with the government’s guidance on social distancing.

“Therefore from 5am (Wednesday, 18 March) all restaurants will close seating areas and temporarily move to being takeaway, drive-thru and McDelivery only.”

He also said that all orders placed through Uber Eats (UBER) and Just Eat (JE.L) would be “contact-free, with no physical contact between customers, employees and couriers, wherever possible.”

The fast food chain will continue with takeaways, drive-thrus and delivery operations. (PA)

The fast food chain will give free drinks to workers in the emergency services and health and social care sectors if they present their work pass when ordering.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said that all employees of restaurants owned by the company, on both guaranteed hour contracts and flexible contracts, who need to self-isolate would be paid for the 14 day period, based on their average working hours.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and may review this as the Covid-19 response develops,” the spokesperson said.

Read more: Pubs and restaurants not covered by insurance even in government shutdown

The fast food giant’s popular annual Monopoly promotion, which was due to be launched later this month, is being scrapped until later in the year, the company added.

Pomroy said: “This year’s prizes include a number of luxury holidays, European city breaks and cruises which will have all been impacted by current and ongoing restrictions on international travel.

“Following conversations with our suppliers and prize partners, we feel it is appropriate to delay the promotion until later this year.”

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