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McDonald’s sent franchisees a 59-page guide for reopening dining rooms

A person wears a protective face mask outside McDonald’s in Union Square during the coronavirus pandemic on April 30, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

McDonald’s sent U.S. franchisees a 59-page guide to reopening dining rooms that asks them to make dozens of changes to their restaurants.

The fast-food giant is asking operators to enforce social distancing, clean bathrooms every half-hour and turn off soda fountains if they aren’t able to assign an employee to operate them.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on McDonald’s guide for reopening. 

States across the country are allowing restaurant dining rooms to reopen with limited capacity, despite concerns about a second wave of outbreaks. The pandemic has roiled the industry, although fast-food chains have weathered the crisis better, thanks to their drive-thru lanes and cheap prices. 

But the pandemic also revived tension between McDonald’s U.S. franchisees and the company’s management as operators sought more financial relief to offset the financial losses from social distancing measures. 

The guide from McDonald’s recommends franchisees purchase products like a $718 touchless sink to reduce hand contact in bathrooms.

McDonald’s said Wednesday it would be chipping in about $100 million to marketing funds pooled by U.S. franchisees. The company is also planning to dole out “targeted financial assistance” to the franchisees hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Once a local government determines that dining rooms can reopen, a McDonald’s zone president will determine if locations in that geographic area can reopen. But it will be up to franchisees to decide after that when to reopen individual dining rooms.

“We ask that you remember: we only get one chance to do this the right way,” the company writes in the guide.

Chick-fil-A and Burger King’s parent company Restaurant Brands International have shared changes coming to their restaurants, such as plexiglass partitions at front counters, as they gradually reopen for dine-in service.

Similarly, McDonald’s will require protective panels at the drive-thru and front counters, and all U.S. restaurants have to deep clean the entire dining room before reopening. Playplaces will remain closed during the “recovery phase.”

The company also provided guidelines for conversations with customers, like those who are not wearing masks or are panhandling.

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