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McDonald's test safety measures in hopes of reopening dine-in restaurants

McDonald's has confirmed it is trialling new measures to re-open its dine-in restaurants. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Taz Ali, PA

McDonald's announced it has reopened four of its restaurants for dine-in customers across the UK and Ireland to test safety procedures.

The fast food giant said the move will see restaurants reopen with table service only, reducing capacity by as much as 70 per cent to enable social distancing.

Hand-sanitising stations, floor markings and Perspex screens will be in restaurants with increased cleaning at touchpoints and seating areas.

McDonald's reopened all 26 of its its Northern Ireland drive-thrus in early June, with two outlets in Belfast's Donegall Place and Enniskillen reopening for walk-in takeaway at the end of the month.

Paul Pomroy, McDonald's UK & Ireland chief executive, said: "We are working to reopen our dine-in restaurants when we are confident we can adhere to the government guidance, which enables our teams to work and customers to visit safely."

The chain is said to be testing this week how to reopen outside seating areas with more details to be revealed later this week.

It will also be reducing its meal prices, following the announcement last week by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to slash VAT on food from 20 per cent to 5 per cent from July 15 until January 12.

On the Government's 'eat out to help out' scheme, which offers 50 per cent off dine-in bills up to £10 from Monday to Wednesday during August, Mr Pomroy said: "This is a fantastic boost for the sector and an initiative we are understandably keen to participate in.

"However, we are not yet open for dine-in."

McDonald's was forced to shut its restaurants across the UK amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

Last month, it reopened more than 1,000 drive-thru under plans for a gradual restarting of its operations.

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