CHICAGO (CBS) — In an effort to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, McDonald’s is closing all dining areas and PlayPlaces at its company-owned restaurants, and is urging franchise locations to follow suit.
“Ensuring the health and safety of our people and our communities is our highest priority as the United States quickly mobilizes to slow the spread of COVID-19. Our decisions are guided by expert local and national health authority guidance. Additionally, we are complying with all local and state restaurant restrictions, where applicable,” the company announced in a news release on Monday.
Effective at the close of business on Monday, Chicago-based McDonald’s will close all seating areas in its company-owned restaurants, including self-serve beverage bars and kiosks.
Restaurants will continue to serve food through drive-through windows, walk-in take-out, and McDelivery through Uber Eats.
“We believe this temporary change is the right decision for our consumers, our communities, and our business and will continue to evaluate our operations as the situation evolves,” the company said in a statement.
McDonald’s franchisees are being strongly encouraged to adopt similar procedures, and the company said it expects most franchise owners will do so.
“Franchisee leadership completely supports the decision to adhere to social distancing guidelines and ensure that large groups of customers are not gathered together inside our restaurants. We are committed to our role in supporting the communities in which we do business and protecting the public’s health by shifting our operations to Drive-Thru, walk-in take-out and McDelivery,” said Mark Salebra, National Franchisee Leadership Alliance Chair for McDonald’s
The announcement comes on the same day all Illinois restaurants and bars have been ordered to halt dine-in service by the end of business. Gov. JB Pritzker has ordered all of the state’s bars and restaurants to close to dine-in customers by the end of the day on Monday, through March 30. Delivery and curbside takeout service may continue while dine-in service is shut down.