McDonald’s, Burger King, Costa and KFC drive thrus can reopen

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Drive-thru restaurants such as McDonald’s and KFC are “made for social distancing” says the Environmental Secretary.

At a Downing Street press conference, George Eustice said it was safe for takeaway food shops to reopen, despite favourites McDonald’s, Greggs and KFC being closed throughout lockdown, reports LincolnshireLive.

His comments come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed plans for easing the UK’s coronavirus lockdown on Sunday.

When asked about fast-food stores reopening, Mr Eustice said: “I think our view is that probably a McDonald’s drive-thru is made for the social distancing situation we are in, in that people do not leave their car, they place their order and someone passes a bag of food to them at the end through a kiosk.”

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Unlike many other businesses, fast-food outlets were not mandated to close during the lockdown, though many chose to close their doors to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Now, some restaurants have begun the process of reopening, with KFC opening around 100 of its branches for delivery or drive-thru, while McDonald’s will open 15 restaurants for delivery on May 13.

When asked if outlets could have stayed open during the crisis, Mr Eustice said: “While clearly restaurants and pubs had to close, we were quite keen to keep that capacity to be able to do takeaway food for people.”

He suggested reduced footfall in town centres, staff anxiety and a sense of what was “socially acceptable” given the stay-at-home message had led to places such as McDonald’s and KFC closing.

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Mr Eustice added: “I think it is quite possible for these venues to reopen and reopen safely, we never mandated that they should close.

“I think some of those food-to-go businesses will probably be seeking to learn lessons from what supermarkets have done as they consider tentatively reopening.”

Before reopening, the McDonald’s restaurants will be deep cleaned, while new safety measures will be introduced such as Perspex screens and floor markings.

Staff will also receive protective equipment, such as non-medical grade face masks, and have their temperatures taken with “contactless thermometers” before shifts.

Earlier this month Greggs pulled back on plans to reopen its first sites to the public next week over fears it could attract crowds.

The popular bakery chain announced it would carry out the opening trial behind closed doors over fears customers will flock in large numbers.

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