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McDonald's and Other Chains Are Closing Dining Rooms Again Amid the New Vaccine Mandate

Some locations of McDonald's, Taco Bell, and White Castle shut down indoor dining.

In areas of the country where vaccine proof checks have become mandatory for entering restaurant dining rooms, some operators at major fast-food chains are choosing to shut down indoor dining altogether.

In New York City, where the new vaccine mandate has been in place since September 18, individual locations of McDonald's and other fast-food chains have closed down seating areas, according to Reuters.

RELATED: America's Largest Burger Chain May Close Its Dining Rooms Over Delta Variant

It looks like its back to drive-thru and takeout orders at White Castle. The burger chain has shut down dining rooms in its more than 20 locations in New York City this month. It's a move that saves the chain's employees from having to confront potentially hostile customers about their proof of vaccine, and can help the chain avoid labor shortages currently being experienced across the restaurant industry.

For many chains, drive-thru and takeout sales have soared and have generally proven to be more profitable. Jeff Carper, White Castle's chief operations officer, told Reuters that the chain was "able to redeploy some labor to focus on drive-thru, delivery and pick-up," thanks to eliminating indoor dining.

McDonald's had similarly shut down several dining rooms at its New York City locations.

"We continue to monitor the Delta variant closely and, as we have throughout the last 18 months, remain able to adapt quickly while maintaining our safety standards," the company said, adding that their operators consider several factors when deciding to shut down dining rooms, including COVID case counts, local regulations, and staffing levels.

Taco Bell told Reuters it was encouraging customers to place digital orders for pickup and delivery, and the publication found dining rooms shut down at two of the chain's locations in New York.

Other cities and counties, like San Francisco and New Orleans, have imposed the same proof-of-vaccine mandates for indoor entry to restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, gyms, and other venues. According to The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles could be joining the list soon.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more