McDonald's tests social distancing and PPE for staff as branches prepare to reopen

28 April 2020, 14:54

McDonalds shut its doors more than a month ago
McDonald's shut its doors more than a month ago. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

McDonald's has said it is going to start "carrying out tests" ahead of reopening branches during the coronavirus pandemic - but bosses say that restaurants will remain closed for the time being.

McDonald's said these trials will include exploring social distancing measures, PPE options for staff and only opening stores in a limited capacity.

All 1,350 McDonald's stores in the UK were closed on Monday, March 23.

Initially, they stopped customers eating inside restaurants but still allowed takeaways, McDelivery orders and drive through service.

However, in order to protect staff, the decision was eventually made to close fully.

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In a statement, Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s CEO for the UK and Ireland, said: “In March, we took the decision to temporarily close our restaurants in the UK and Ireland for the safety of our people and customers. Recently, we began working through a potential and limited reopening.

"We have been listening to our employees and customers as well as engaging with government and trade bodies to help ensure we do this responsibly, when the time is right."

McDonalds is not open for takeaway or delivery currently
McDonalds is not open for takeaway or delivery currently. Picture: PA

He continued: “Restarting our business is not an easy task even when reopening in a limited capacity. We have set ourselves some key criteria for reopening, all of which take time – first and foremost ensuring the wellbeing of our people and creating the right environment for them to return to work; secondly ensuring we have enough supply of fresh produce; and finally working in-step with government guidelines to ensure the safety of our customers.  

“This week we are carrying out some operational tests to explore what our reopening might look like; the restaurant where these tests take place will remain closed to the public.

"These tests will include exploring social distancing measures for our crew, PPE options and opening in a limited capacity.

"For now we remain closed, and will only reopen when we are absolutely confident we can have the right measures in place to ensure everyone’s wellbeing.”

It comes as Nando's announced it will reopen six of its UK restaurants for delivery from today.

The peri-peri chicken chain said it will reopen the kitchens of four restaurants in London and two in Manchester to offer a delivery service through Deliveroo.

It comes after Nando's restarted cooking at these sites last week to cook food for NHS workers and charities.

Fast-food rival KFC have reopened some stores in the UK
Fast-food rival KFC have reopened some stores in the UK. Picture: PA

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The statement follows fast-food rivals Burger King, KFC and Pret a Manger announcing last week that they will be launching limited reopenings of certain stores across the UK.

The three firms all said when they reopen, staff will be wearing PPE and abiding by social distancing rules.

Pret a Manger will be open for deliveries and takeaways, with Burger King and KFC only providing deliveries initially.

The firms argued that a gradual reopening of stores will help NHS staff and key workers and that staff will be protected by stringent safely measures.

Pret a Manger will be opening 10 stores across London, near to hospitals, and they will be run by 160 staff members who have volunteered to return to work.

Burger King will be operating four sites across the UK in Bristol, Swindon and Coventry, with more expected to open in the coming weeks.

KFC has opened 11 restaurants in London, Hampshire, Birmingham, Glasgow, Sussex, Greater Manchester and Staffordshire.