McDonald's is pausing its dine-in reopening plans for three weeks, citing a rise in coronavirus cases across 32 states. The company also urged restaurants that have already resumed indoor service to "carefully review" state guidance that might require them to return to only drive-through, delivery or take-out service.
"Our resiliency will be tested again," wrote Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald's USA, and Mark Salebra, head of the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance owners association, in a company memo that was viewed by CBS MoneyWatch. "COVID-19 cases are on the rise – with a 65% 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."
The announcement was made ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend and comes as many states are reversing or delaying plans to reopen indoor dining. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that indoor diningto resume when New York City reaches its next stage in reopening next week, as originally planned, while California said it's forcing restaurants, movie theaters, museums and other businesses in 19 counties to close indoor operations for at least the next three weeks.
The halt in McDonald's dine-in rollout comes after the restaurant chain reintroduced the service in May, about two months after the company closed its seated dining areas to slow the spread of the coronavirus. At the time, its restaurants were limited to drive-through, take-out or delivery, and it also closed all of its playgrounds and self-service drink kiosks.
In the memo sent Wednesday, Erlinger and Salebra said employees should continue to follow social-distancing protocols and reiterated that workers are required to wear face masks. Masks are required for McDonald's customers "where applicable," they said.
They added, "This surge shows nobody is exempt from this virus – even places that previously had very few cases."