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Free Taco Bell offered during coronavirus shutdown

Chain offering a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco at the drive-thrus of participating locations

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Taco Bell is giving away a free taco to anyone who goes through a restaurant drive-thru Tuesday as Americans socially distance themselves to slow the coronavirus spread.

The fast-food chain is offering at least a million Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos via the drive-thrus of participating locations.

Chief Executive Officer Mark King wrote in a letter that restaurants are committed to providing food for essential workers in the pandemic, like those who work in hospitals, grocery stores and transportation.

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"Since my letter to you on March 13, things have been changing on a daily basis. But I've noticed that one thing hasn’t changed: People are still coming together to help one another and show that they care," he wrote. "There's a distinct group of brave people — from health care workers, to teachers, to grocery store employees — who are making sure the world keeps running, and we need to make sure we all do our part to take care of them."

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The company will also donate $1 million to No Kid Hungry, which provides meals to children who don't have easy access to food, and it is hoping to reinstate its Round Up program to allow drive-thru customers round up their order total and donate to the program.

Taco Bell will also deploy Taco Bell Taco Trucks to deliver food to those who aren't able to access a drive-thru.

Parent company Yum Brands, is chipping in to the fight against COIVD-19, too. Chief Executive Officer David Gibbs will forgo his 2020 base salary to help the company's workers, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. In addition to Taco Bell workers, the money will go toward one-time $1,000 bonuses for the 1,200 restaurant general managers at KFC, Pizza Hut and The Habit Grill locations, which Yum also owns.

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Other restaurants and businesses are giving employees a boost amid the outbreak, too, including Albertsons, Kroger and Walmart, per Nation's Restaurant NewsStarbucks offered a $3-an-hour bump for workers effective March 21 through April 19 and Chipotle announced it will give a temporary 10 percent pay increase to hourly employees.

Early estimates suggest at least a million U.S. workers could have lost their jobs in March because of the shutdown. The Labor Department reported the number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits jumped to 281,000 for the week ending March 14.

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