McDonald's Is Considering Shutting Down Dining Rooms Again

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is making the fast food chain reconsider its dining room safety.

McDonald's recently announced that it was on schedule to reopen all of its dining rooms by Labor Day, Reuters reports. That's just next week—but now, per the Reuters article, the company is now rethinking that strategy as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spikes in some areas of the country. Now, the chain is informing some franchise owners that they may, in fact, need to close dining areas again. We had a few months of normalcy, I guess. Whatever that means.

In search of more information, Reuters checked out some internal company documents sent to franchisees. Those documents include instructions for some franchisees to re-close dining rooms in areas affected by the resurgence of the virus. According to the internal materials, McDonald's President USA Joe Erlinger said in a meeting that the company has "a much deeper sense of what actions make a difference for the safety of our restaurant teams and crew."

What, exactly, does that mean? During a conference call last Wednesday, executives reportedly recommended that McDonald's franchisees seriously consider closing dining rooms in counties where COVID cases surpass 250 cases per 100,000 people on a rolling three-week average. One franchisee told Reuters that they already had to close seating areas at multiple locations.

There was no word on how many franchises would be affected; however, in a statement on Friday, 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 many fast food restaurants were able to get by with carry-out, drive-thru, and delivery business, reopening dining rooms had certainly helped boost sales. With that in mind, these franchise owners are probably on a bit of a roller coaster right now.