Fast food chain McDonald’s is to begin a phased reopening of restaurants in Ireland from next week, starting with a drive-through only service at six outlets in the Dublin area.
McDonald's UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said updated Government guidelines make it clear that takeaways and deliveries can operate, and that as such the six restaurants will open from May 20th. He said the company would confirm the locations next week.
“Moving in step with government guidelines, we plan to reopen all our drive-throughs by early June across the UK and Ireland,” he said. “As locations reopen, you will be able to search for a location near you on our website.”
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said he welcomed the news. "McDonald's is a valued key purchaser of Irish produce and an employer of a large number of people throughout Ireland," he said.
“I therefore welcome today’s announcement that McDonald’s restaurants will begin a cautious reopening in Ireland from May 20th.
“The last couple of months have been undoubtedly tough, both economically and socially, but the recent announcement from Government on the phased reopening of the country offers reassurance and hope for brighter days ahead.”
Mr Pomroy said McDonald’s would cap spend at €30 per car and encouraged people to pay by contactless payment methods wherever possible.
He also outlined a number of other safety measures being introduced in all restaurants, including having fewer people in the kitchen and service areas, and serving a reduced menu over reduced hours.
Staff will be subject to temperature checks on arrival at work through contactless thermometers.
Perspex screens, used to block coughs, will be installed in key locations in the kitchen and service areas. Protective equipment for staff will include gloves and face masks for customer- and courier-facing positions, but not the type needed by healthcare professionals.
There will also be additional training on cleanliness practices, including increased frequency of handwashing and extra sanitising of touch points around restaurants.
Mr Pomroy said the service offered at drive-through outlets “will be different” for customers. “Our service will not be as quick as you might be used to, as we adjust to smaller teams and social distancing in our kitchens,” he said.
“We expect there will be some queues for some of our busier sites and our restaurants will look different, with Perspex screens at our drive-through windows and employees wearing protective equipment.
“I ask that you continue to be supportive of and patient with our restaurant teams as we slowly and safely return. We are asking all of our employees to adapt to how our restaurants now work, and will only reopen at a pace that enables them to work safely.
“As we get accustomed to the new processes and procedures, we will look to reopen more restaurants, for longer hours and reintroduce more menu items.
“But only when I am confident we can do so whilst maintaining the new procedures we have introduced for the protection of our people.
“Learning from our initial phases, these tests, we will start to return to towns and cities across the UK and Ireland.”
The chain is also reopening in the UK from 11am on Wednesday with 15 pilot restaurants in the southeast of England offering delivery only.