McDonald’s drive-thru could open during coronavirus lockdown as minister says it’s ‘made’ for social distancing – The Sun

MCDONALD'S drive-thru could reopen during the coronavirus lockdown as a minister said it was "made" for social distancing.

Fast food fans were given hope as environment secretary George Eustice suggested the chain could return despite Britain's lockdown being extended by three weeks.

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Mr Eustice said it was "quite possible" for takeaway restaurants to operate safely amid the pandemic during the daily coronavirus briefing.

He said: "A McDonald’s drive-through is made for the social distancing situation that we are in.”

It comes as the fast food giant has already drawn up plans to reopen 15 branches for delivery orders.

McDonald's temporarily closed all 1,350 restaurants on March 23 due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Before shutting down, the firm had kept branches open for takeaway and drive-thru orders.

It had taken measures like using sticky tape to mark out social distance boxes on the floor and shutting off seating and children's play areas.

Asked if fast food outlets could have stayed open, 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 went on: "I think it is quite possible for these venues to reopen and reopen safely, we never mandated that they should close.

"We have learned a lot from supermarkets and other food outlets about how you can do social distancing and do it well.

"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."

Maccies have not yet said when more restaurants will be opening, but said its working "very hard" to get more locations up and running.

The branches due to reopen on May 13 will be under reduced hours, with a reduced menu, fewer staff and will only accept orders via UberEats and JustEat.

Meanwhile, McDonald's in other countries have started to reopen, with customers in New Zealand seen queuing for miles after midnight following the lifting of lockdown rules.

France saw McDonald's addicts queued for up to three hours when a handful of restaurants reopened for drive-through meals last week.

Other fast food restaurants in the UK are also reopening – such as KFC, Burger King and Five Guys,

Giant queues of cars were seen as the fried chicken chain opened 55 restaurants for drive-thru.

Mr Eustice's briefing came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the easing of some lockdown measures on Sunday.

He said: "[The PM] is going to set out effectively a roadmap of how we can evolve our restrictions at the moment.

"There isn't going to be any dramatic overnight change."

Mr Johnson is expected to set out a timetable for Britain's reopening, but it is believed any changes to the rules will be "baby steps".

Meanwhile, Britain is braced for a sunny bank holiday weekend amid fears it could lead to a widespread flouting of the lockdown.

Mr Eustice urged Brits to continue to stay home, saying it is "vitally important" the public continues to follow guidelines.

Britain's death toll rose to more than 31,000 today as 626 people – including a six-week-old baby – were killed by the virus.

Dominic Raab reminded Brits that coronavirus is "not beaten", said it remains "deadly and infectious", but did add the UK has "passed the peak".

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