McDonald’s restaurants in Southport and Formby are reopening today.
The fast food chain has announced that sites at Ocean Plaza, by Kew roundabout and on Altcar Road in Formby are among 497 drive thrus which are now back open.
Diners are being warned to be patient however with two hour queues seen yesterday after the chain reopened 168 drive-thrus – with police being called out to manage traffic at some of its restaurants.
Customers are ordering from a reduced menu, with a spending cap of £25, as McDonald’s cuts the number of staff working in its kitchens to maintain social distancing measures.
The restaurants in Southport and Formby were among those ordered to close by the Government in March as the coronavirus outbreak saw cases escalate.
Huge queues were reported outside both sites on their last day of trading as desperate motorists scrambled to get their last Big Mac fix before lockdown.
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Restaurants will reopen with protective screens between staff and customers. Workers are also expected to wash their hands every 30 minutes.
Protective screens have been put in place inside the kitchens and at drive-thrus to lower the risk of contamination.
For customers, the major changes are a reduced menu and a £25 spending cap, which has been introduced as staff get used to working in smaller teams and to reduce waiting times at drive-thru lanes. Diners are also being asked to pay via contactless cards.
A McDonald’s spokesman said: “We can today announce that by 4th June, 1,019 of our restaurants will have reopened, either for Drive Thru or McDelivery.
“This means every Drive Thru in the UK and Ireland will reopen between Tuesday and Thursday and we will start to expand the availability of McDelivery too.
“This is only possible following the hard work of the teams in our 44 pilot restaurants.
“Over the last fortnight, our employees, franchisees and suppliers have worked tirelessly to implement new procedures to enable safe working so that we can now help all parts of the UK and Ireland to enjoy the return of the Big Mac.
“With fewer employees working in our kitchens and service areas, our teams will still need your patience and support as they continue to adjust to the new ways of working.
“Face coverings, gloves, Perspex screens and new safety and hygiene processes mean it will look different, it will take a little longer and as we have seen in the pilot restaurants, we expect demand will be high.
“Please bear with us, we will continue to put our people first – their safety is our priority.”
McDonald’s says that it will only announce which stores have reopened on the day it happens.
A McDonald’s spokesman said: “In the last week, on occasion, we have taken the decision to close Drive Thru lanes where demand has impacted local communities or the safety of our people or customers.
“We will continue to work with local authorities and the police as we extend our reopening plans.
“With smaller teams, we will still be offering a limited menu over reduced hours, and we ask that you make contactless payments and limit your spend to £25.
“We are continuing to review these measures as we reopen, but for now, these restrictions remain in place to help our employees, customers and delivery partner couriers to remain safe.
“To manage the anticipated demand, we will release the locations of the reopening restaurants on the morning of each day.”
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