McDonald's prepares to close dining rooms again

(Credit: McDonalds)

The drive-thru might be getting a lot busier.

Over the past several months, restaurants across the country have started to return to business as usual. Many fast-food places, for example, have reopened their dining rooms after closing them due to the pandemic.

Now, based on reports, some of those dining rooms may be closing again.

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McDonald’s recently instructed its franchisees on what steps need to be taken to reclose dining rooms, Reuters reports. Restaurants in areas where the Delta variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading are likely to be impacted.

Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald's USA, discussed the situation during a meeting last Wednesday and said that the company has learned over the past year how to handle the situation. He also explained that McDonald’s has a better understanding of what actions "make a difference" for the safety of employees and customers.

In a statement obtained by Reuters, a spokesperson for McDonald’s said, "We’re monitoring the impact of the Delta variant closely and recently convened together with our franchisees to underscore existing safety protocols, reinforce our people first approach and provide updates on the rise in cases in the country."

While fewer locations are expected to close in the upcoming weeks, McDonald’s recommended that franchisees in areas where COVID cases exceed 250 cases per 100,000 people (per a three-week-average) should close indoor seating.

Nearly all of McDonald’s locations in the US closed indoor dining areas early last year. In July of this year, however, the company had reopened up to 70% of its dining rooms and had planned on having 100% of dining rooms open by Labor Day, which is next week.