McDonald’s is putting the kibosh on public soda fountains during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are the details?
Around 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants across the United States are banning public soda fountains over hygiene concerns.
According to data company Scrape Hero, there are 13,839 locations — so that sounds an awful lot like “all McDonald’s.”
A portion of the new guidelines pointed out that “beverage bars” in restaurants “will remain closed or sectioned off and staffed in restaurants.”
“From the beginning of the crisis in February our safety and sanitation practices have been informed by guidance from both our own third-party contagious disease experts and the CDC,” the McDonald’s release read. “Now, we’re evolving these health and safety guidelines further by implementing nationwide standards for restaurant operations across all 14,000 U.S. restaurants.”
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the restaurant is directing its staff to close the beverage bar area or have a staff member monitor it due to the difficulty of maintaining the beverage bar’s high need for sanitization.
Yahoo Finance added that at least one franchise owner is opting to shut down the beverage bar altogether rather than deal with the continuous need to maintain hygienic vigilance and monitoring.
Joe Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA, also defended the restaurant’s decision to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an open letter, Erlinger said, “[M]any people are depending on us right now for a hot meal.”
Erlinger’s letter added, “Since the pandemic began, my team and I have been meeting three times a day to evaluate and adjust our plans while also adopting best practices from our franchisees and global markets. To date, we have implemented nearly 50 process changes in restaurants and increased training for restaurant crew. Now, as cities and states begin to ease restrictions, we are moving thoughtfully and judiciously with guidance provided by local authorities.”
You can read more about the company’s “process changes” here.