McDonald's Implementing New COVID Measures to Combat Nationwide Spike in Cases

As the United States continues to see a surge in coronavirus cases, fast-food chain McDonald's is enacting new safety protocols to maintain its employees' and customers' health and safety. In an internal memo on Friday, the company announced new "Safety Affirmation Visits."

Obtained and viewed by Business Insider, the memo noted that these Safety Affirmation Visits would involve the company inspecting one restaurant per every franchise organization (franchisees own and operate approximately 95% of all McDonald's locations in the U.S.). CNBC reports that the inspections will assess how a franchisee is executing the "top five operating minimums." Each franchisee will then be responsible for visiting all other restaurants they own and operate. The goal is to complete all of the visits by Dec. 31. The visits are being enacted as the company, as well as the world, braces for the "most difficult period of the pandemic," the memo noted.

"The latest numbers are staggering – with the average number of new infections having reached as high as 140,000 in a single day. It is apparent we are entering what many predicted would be the most difficult period of the pandemic," the memo reads in part. "With COVID fatigue setting in, we need to continue ensuring the safety of our people and customers and maintain the customer trust we worked so hard to build."

Along with Safety Affirmation Visits, restaurants will also further encourage contactless payment and social distancing. McDonald's U.S. President Joe Erlinger revealed in a Medium post Friday that the company will take part in more industry roundtables, noting that "this is an area where we don’t see anyone as a competitor; the more that an organization of our scope and scale can share what we've learned, the more we can help make everyone safer." In the post, Erlinger said that while "the rate of infection at our restaurants is below the U.S. rate generally… even one case of COVID is one case too many."

The fast-food chain has already enacted several precautions amid the pandemic. Those safety measures require employees to undergo wellness and temperature checks before starting their shift and also require them to wear face masks and gloves. High-touchpoint surfaces are also more frequently cleaned and disinfected and social distancing floor stickers have been put in place to encourage the recommended six feet of social distance. The new precautions, meanwhile, come as the country experiences a surge in cases and records record numbers of hospitalizations.