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

McDonald's urges franchisees to temporarily prohibit indoor dining in light of the variant's rampant spread.

Several McDonald's franchisees across the U.S. are considering closing their dining rooms due to the rampant spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, according to a Reuters report.

As of Sunday, Aug. 29 the U.S. reached a daily average of 100,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time since the winter peak. By the end of July, the CDC estimated that more than 80% of COVID-19 cases were due to the Delta variant. McDonald's temporarily removed indoor dining privileges at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, but by last month, the fast-food giant reopened 70% of its dining rooms nationwide, Reuters reported.

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America's largest burger chain announced on July 28 that it had ambitions to reopen 100% by Labor Day, so long as COVID-19 cases weren't surging. But as of last week, McDonald's called on its franchisees and advised them to be prepared to take measures to re-close dining rooms in counties where the Delta variant is rapidly spreading.

mcdonalds workers

More specifically, McDonald's executives suggested that franchisees consider closing indoor dining in counties where cases exceed 250 per 100,000 people on a rolling three-week average.

McDonald's isn't the only big chain that's taking precautions. Reuters also reported that some of the 40 KFC and Taco Bell locations PMTD Restaurants own between Alabama and Georgia had to cut their hours due to staff members being out from COVID-19 infections. According to the latest data from OpenTable, 16 states are currently implementing some indoor dining restrictions. These include states on the West Coast, such as California, Oregon, and Washington as well as Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, and North Carolina.

Some cities are beginning to enforce their own restrictions. As of Aug. 12, New York City establishments including restaurants, concert venues, and gyms now require guests to show proof of the COVID-19 vaccination to enter.

For some more upbeat news, be sure to check out 7 Fan-Favorite Menu Items Restaurant Chains Are Bringing Back Right Now. Then, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the former news editor of Eat This, Not That! Read more about Cheyenne