Coronavirus: McDonald's confirms tests to see how UK branches could re-open

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
McDonald's updated customers on its preparations to re-open restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic. (Grace Wong/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA)

McDonald’s is carrying out safety tests in some of its closed UK restaurants to see how branches could re-open during the coronavirus crisis.

Paul Pomroy, CEO of the company in the UK and Ireland, said it was looking at how restaurants could eventually re-open this week. Some sites are trialling social distancing measures and personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff behind closed doors.

Pomroy said the company had set itself key criteria for re-opening that “take time,” including ensuring a safe environment for both staff and customers. He said ensuring sufficient supplies of fresh produce was another issue.

“For now we remain closed, and will only reopen when we are absolutely confident we can have the right measures in place to ensure everyone’s wellbeing,” he said, according to PA.

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It comes amid significant speculation on social media in the past few days about the popular fast food giant re-opening its UK restaurants. The Irish Farmers Journal had reported last week branches could re-open on a limited basis in mid-May with drive-through and delivery services.

A message on McDonald’s UK Facebook page on the same day said its notifications were “going wild,” promising an update as soon as the company’s plans were confirmed. Another post also acknowledged “these rumours are frustrating” in response to a staff member who said she had been inundated with customers asking about re-opening plans.