McDonald’s has announced all its 1,300 restaurants across Britain have been closed for walk-in takeaway after England was plunged into a third national
The chain will remain open for drive-through and delivery but customers will no longer be allowed inside stores to place orders, even if they are taking them out.
The surprise announcement was made at 8pm last night, with walk-in takeaway service ending for the foreseeable future when restaurants closed three hours later.
Lockdown restrictions brought in by Boris Johnson on Monday night mean the chain would be allowed to remain open for walk-in takeaways if it wished to do so.
But bosses at McDonald’s said last night that they wanted to ‘take time to review and reassess our safety procedures with an independent health and safety body’.
However, the move to keep stores open gone down badly with some employees, who took to social media to complain that the chain should completely shut.
Food is served at a McDonald’s on the outskirts of Oakham, which opened in November 2020
One said: ‘Is this a joke? i gotta work where i am PHYSICALLY UNABLE to socially distance with my colleagues when we have more cases than last time?!’
Another added: Each branch has differing business, mine is the busiest in my county and by staying open we’re literally putting more pressure on emergency services that you claim to care about sm (so much). Over 20 employees within my work have caught Covid and over double have had to isolate as a result.’
McDonald’s replied to this tweet, saying: ‘Hi there, your safety is our absolute priority – please contact the People Services Helpdesk to discuss your concerns who can look into this as a matter of urgency for you.’
But a third worker said: ‘There were three people in our tiny headset room. It’s honestly not safe for any of us to go in seeing as the dividers do nothing either, hopefully they’ll release furlough again because I don’t feel safe going in.’
And a fourth tweeted: ‘Delivery drivers allowed in-store. So we have to listen to their bulls**t and deal with some of those c***s not following rules.
‘And how is people ordering and coming through drive-thru classed as ESSENTIAL? Not fair that we have to risk our health.’
McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said: ‘Following the latest government announcements, our restaurants will remain open for Drive-Thru and McDelivery services and Click & Serve for Drive-Thru which is available via the My McDonald’s App.
‘Our dine-in and walk-in takeaway services will be temporarily unavailable while we take time to review and reassess our safety procedures with an independent health and safety body.
‘This is a temporary change in our operations to allow us to test and validate any additional measures that may further enhance the safety of our takeaway service.
‘We will continue to keep customers updated via the My McDonald’s App and our website.’
It comes after McDonald’s blamed ‘supply challenges following
A series of posters were put up at its fast food outlets across the UK explaining that ‘some of our menu may be unavailable or have ingredients missing’.
The chain, which employs 120,000 people in Britain across its 1,300 UK restaurants, had urged customers to ask staff for further details about the problem.
They are thought to have been distributed to restaurants as a contingency measure two weeks ago, before the post-Brexit trade deal was agreed on Christmas Eve.
McDonald’s later clarified with staff that the signs were not needed and sources said the chain was not anticipating any supply issues related to Brexit or otherwise.
The business carried out a gradual reopening of its chains from June last year after all of them were shut on March 23 when the first lockdown began.
McDonald’s started reopening to the public on June 2 when 168 restaurants were opened offering drive-through and an extra 22 stores were offering deliveries.
The next day, 497 more drive-throughs opened with 42 of those also offering delivery. On June 4 another 261 outlets were opened, taking the total to about 1,000.
But there was chaos in parts of the country when the firm initially reopened restaurants for orders via McDelivery or via one of 923 drive-throughs.
McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said bosses wanted to ‘take time to review and reassess our safety procedures with an independent health and safety body’
Customers were seen queuing for hours to get their hands on a Big Mac, with cars blocking off emergency vehicles in some locations.
Stores initially reopened with a restricted menu, with lower staff numbers and social distancing in kitchens.
Only a certain number of customers have been allowed in each restaurant at any time – depending on its size and layout – and they must follow a one-way system.
There were hand-sanitising stations and its seating areas, staff wore face masks and gloves and Perspex screens and other social-distancing measures were introduced.
There were fewer self-order screens switched on and those in use were sanitised at least every 30 minutes, with customers also ordering via the My McDonald’s app.