McDonald’s Offering Wellness Checks Amid Covid-19

Most states in the nation have been very busy in shutting down almost everything nonessential they can think of. Unfortunately for businesses, nonessential includes a lot of construction companies and a lot of manufacturers that aren’t converting their businesses over to creating medical supplies to help combat Covid-19. Though luckily for people in the food industry, most restaurants and manufacturers of food have been deemed essential and are still open. This includes fast food restaurants, and so mega chains like McDonald’s are still open.

However, the issue here is that anyone infected with Covid-19 is in very close proximity to their fellow employees and customers, so McDonald’s has decided to roll out a series of wellness checks to ensure that their staff isn’t infected. Like most fast food restaurants, McDonald’s strongly urges its employees to stay home if they’re feeling unwell. The issue here, though, is that people can have the virus for many days without showing symptoms yet can still infect others.

These wellness checks are something McDonald’s will be instituting across the board, from their corporate offices and distribution centers to locally owned franchises. Workers will have to answer a series of questions related to the Covid-19 virus, regarding any possible exposure or symptoms. These aren’t just one-off questions either; employees will have to answer a series of questions in order to start their shift. If they answer “yes” to any of the questions, they will be sent home.

While the clock will not be running on McDonald’s employees who are sent home, they will still get to keep their jobs. The company is resolved to not actually fire anyone due to the pandemic, though they also cannot have people working around others if they may have come into contact with the virus.

The majority of McDonald’s locations around the nation are only open via drive-thru now, with their lobbies being closed, often by state order. Though this hasn’t stopped the chain from implementing its own social distancing policies for employees. All people who work at McDonald’s are told to maintain their distance from others and to avoid contact. They will also be performing temperature checks, having secured thermometers and are “in the process now of quickly making them available for…all restaurants,” said the vice president of US communications, David Tovar.

The questions are entirely virus-based and include nothing except virus-specific materials. For instance, employees will be asked if they have any symptoms, if they’re positive, if they’re had contact with anyone positive, etc. There are a lot of companies out there working hard to keep the virus from spreading further.

Private Enterprise Initiatives

What is typically seem among private industry during times like these are measures to help improve everyone’s situation. No government regulations had to be passed for McDonald’s to do this. Just like Walmart before them, many private companies are footing the bill for extra gear to help combat the virus. With Burger King, another giant fast food chain, their policy updates include only working through a drive-thru and having zero skin contact with food items. Gloves are mandatory, even in handling food bags and in accepting customers’ money.

There are also quite a few companies out there who are offering bonuses to employees to help them get through these difficult times. Many stores out there, such as the large Dollar General chain of stores, have performed quick remodels inside to give customers more room, while placing designated X’s on the floor by the checkout, to let people know to keep their distance and not to crowd other people.

Why Fast Food is Marked Essential

Since most states are closing down all nonessential businesses, many people who have lost their jobs are left wondering why a fast food restaurant is essential yet their job wasn’t. While fast food gets a very bad reputation for selling unhealthy items, the fact is that large food chains have an inside line on distribution that really comes in handy during times like these. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and many more corporations have their own distribution networks that aren’t reliant upon other companies. So while there may be no ground meat or bread or milk at the local grocery store, the average person can likely go through the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant and get a cheeseburger and milkshake, even with all that’s going on.

That is very important not only for the nutrition of people who cannot find food at the grocers, but it’s also a huge moral boost. Not to even mention the fact that it’s fewer people who need to file for unemployment. And with wellness checks, the virus might not spread through these restaurants.

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