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"McDonald's top priority is the safety and well-being of our people and customers, which guides our decision making. This is not a race," a company spokesperson told FOX Business. "As states ease restrictions, we will move thoughtfully and judiciously to make changes to our operations in collaboration with our franchisees, when McDonald's is ready."
McDonald's says it is following guidance from the CDC, state and local authorities in order to determine the best timeline to reopen and that its U.S. senior leadership team meets three times a day to evaluate the company's policies and procedures. It has also established a task force with franchisees to evaluate reopening the dining rooms.
The fast food chain added that it has "changed nearly 50 processes" in its restaurants to date for the protection of its employees and customers including wellness checks, installing protective barriers, adhering to social distancing guidelines with floor decals, using gloves, increasing the frequency of handwashing, moving to contactless operations, providing thermometers to restaurants and distributing more than 100 million masks to employees.
While McDonald's "continues to assess plans for the future," the company said it will keep serving its customers through drive-thru, walk-in takeout and delivery.
The news from McDonald's comes as some states, including Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Colorado, Mississippi and Alaska plan to begin a phased reopening this week despite warnings from public health experts that opening too soon could cause a second wave of coronavirus cases. Governors are feeling the pressure as another 4.4 million Americans have filed for unemployment this month, according to the latest report on Thursday by the Department of Labor.
Overall for the first quarter, McDonald’s same-store sales gained 0.1% in the U.S. while dropping 3.4% globally in March. The company noted that in China, where the coronavirus outbreak began, about a quarter of its restaurants were fully shut down at the peak of closures in early February.
The company will provide an update when it releases its full first quarter earnings report for 2020 on April 30. McDonald's stock closed at $184.02 per share during Friday's trading session.