Government gives green light for McDonald’s to reopen every UK drive-thru

The Environment Secretary has said drive-thru restaurants such as McDonald's are "made for social distancing".

Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 1:38 pm

At the Downing Street press conference on Friday, George Eustice said it was safe for takeaway food shops to reopen.

Many familiar high street chains including McDonald's, Greggs and KFC chose to shut their doors during the lockdown.

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."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A McDonalds' restaurant sign (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Unlike many other businesses, fast-food outlets were not mandated to close during the lockdown.

Some restaurants have begun the process of reopening, with KFC opening around 100 of its branches for delivery or drive-thru.

McDonald's has conducted trials on reopening stores, with 15 restaurants opening for deliveries from this week.

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.

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.