McDonald's have paused walk-in takeaway services in the UK as new lockdown restrictions come into force. It means that dine-in meals and walk-in takeaways will not be available temporarily while it reviews safety procedures, it said.
Its UK boss said it will be testing "additional measures that may further enhance the safety of our takeaway service." Rival food chains Burger King, Subway, KFC and Pret A Manger are still offering takeaways in-store.
McDonald's UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said that safety measures across the firm's 1,300 restaurants will be reviewed by an independent health and safety body and added that customers would be kept updated via the restaurant's app and its website. Drive-through and delivery services across the fast food chain will remain open.
Under new lockdown restrictions which came into force in England and Scotland this week, hospitality firms are allowed to offer takeaways and deliveries. But rules which had previously allowed takeaways or click-and-collect services for alcoholic drinks have been scrapped. Wales and Northern Ireland were already in lockdown, which meant that pubs, restaurants and cafes were restricted to takeaway-only too.
After the first nationwide lockdown in March, many chains including McDonald's, Burger King and Pret closed their doors to hungry customers. They gradually reopened with additional safety measures in place, such as plastic screens in front of the tills, hand sanitiser dispensers and restrictions on the number of customers allowed in at any one point. Some also pared back the number of dishes on offer.
Despite adapting their business models, many casual dining chains have been forced to make job cuts in the last year as lockdown restrictions hit sales.
The UK has reported a further 1,041 people have died with coronavirus, the highest daily death toll since April. It came as 62,322 new cases were recorded, the highest daily rise since mass testing began, as MPs debated England's lockdown.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said doctors could be forced to ration treatment without the new curbs. There are 30,074 Covid patients in UK hospitals, he said, as an ambulance trust told of severe pressure.