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McDonald’s reconsiders safety of indoor dining amid delta variant surge

Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

(CHICAGO) — As new COVID-19 cases emerge with the spread of the delta variant, businesses have implemented updated health protocols to ensure staff and customer safety.

While certain cities and states now require proof of vaccination to dine inside or shop in stores, fast food chains are assessing their own best practices.

Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA, recently discussed in an internal company meeting the enhanced safety policies for their restaurants and franchisees in consultation with public health experts and the Mayo Clinic.

According to the fast food company, Erlinger surmised in the meeting that McDonald’s will continue to operate its business from the same mindset they had during the peak of the pandemic 18 months ago.

“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,” a representative said in a statement shared with “Good Morning America.”

While the company said it has successfully served customers through digital, delivery, drive-thru and dine-in over the last 18 months, McDonald’s said it will consider adapting as needed.

“Should we see further changes in customer behavior, we are well positioned to adapt while maintaining high standards for safety,” the statement said.

McDonald’s initially closed its U.S. dining rooms in March 2020 and reopened to 70% capacity last month with procedures that incorporate local case counts, local regulations and guidance and community feedback.

Local owners and operator work in partnership with the field offices to make dining room decisions.

McDonald’s has implemented a facial covering requirement for all crew and customers in hot spot counties regardless of vaccination status. Additionally, all corporate employees are required to get vaccinated.

Erlinger also told employees that meetings are continuing, but with strict safety protocols and limits on size in place.

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