Some McDonald’s locations in the U.S. may be closing their indoor seating soon after the fast food giant instructed its franchisees last week on steps they should take to re-close their dining areas in places where the COVID-19 Delta variant is rapidly spreading.
“We have a much deeper sense of what actions make a difference for the safety of our restaurant teams and crew,” McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger said during a conference call last Wednesday, according to internal company materials seen by Reuters.
In the said meeting, McDonald’s top brass recommended franchisees to consider closing indoor dining in counties where COVID-19 cases exceed 250 per 100,000 people on a rolling three-week average.
Though the materials did not indicate how many locations will shut indoor seating soon and how many restaurants have already done so, expected closures are fewer than the number that closed in spring of 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic first hit the U.S.
“We’re monitoring the impact of the Delta variant closely and recently convened together with our franchisees to underscore existing safety protocols, reinforce our people-first approach and provide updates on the rise in cases in the country,” McDonald’s said in a statement last Friday.
In early 2020, in the onset of the pandemic, McDonald’s had temporarily closed indoor dining at almost all its U.S. locations. It managed to reopen 70% of all its restaurants by last month and was on track to open nearly 100% by Labor Day. But with the recent COVID-19 Delta variant surge in the country, it looks like it will take a while before all McDonald’s locations in the country will open for indoor dining.