Coronavirus prompts McDonald’s to give free ‘Thank You Meals’ to first responders

The meal will come in a Happy Meal box

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McDonald’s has a new plan to help essential workers in the coronavirus pandemic.

The fast-food chain announced “Thank You Meals” Tuesday, a free meal for police officers, firefighters, paramedics and health care employees. The deal, which starts Wednesday and runs through May 5, will be available nationwide at the chain’s drive-thru or for carryout.

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McDonald’s in March closed its dining rooms and play areas due to the COVID-19 outbreak but said Tuesday it would slowly move to reopen U.S. dining rooms as some states, including Georgia, plan to lift restaurant restrictions in the coming days.

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The meal will be available for breakfast, lunch and dinner and come in a Happy Meal box. Essential employees will just need to show a work badge or be in uniform to get one.

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“We have been inspired by the way our franchisees have been going above and beyond to support their local communities throughout this trying time,” McDonald’s U.S. President Joe Erlinger said in the statement. “I couldn’t be more proud of how our company, franchisees and supplier partners have come together to give back to those who are working tirelessly for our country. That is truly our McDonald’s system at its best.”

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Other businesses also are dishing out free food to help amid the outbreak.

Chipotle is one. The fast-casual chain is rolling out a special program to support health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Through May 3, Starbucks will offer free coffee for first responders and health care workers.  And Jersey Mike's Subs has committed to donating millions of subs as part of the company's Million Sub Sandwich initiative.

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