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Restaurants Defend Dining Rooms as Covid-19 Spreads – The Wall Street Journal

Restaurants Defend Dining Rooms as Covid-19 Spreads – The Wall Street Journal

Restaurant chains are setting long-term plans to keep dining rooms open whenever and wherever possible as the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of relenting.

McDonald’s Corp. , Starbucks Corp. and other chains are serving customers inside, in line with safety standards they say they have honed during roughly nine months of grappling with the virus. Executives say they see an immediate boost in sales when dining rooms reopen.

However, with Covid-19 cases rising to new heights, these chains and other restaurant owners are closing some dining rooms again now where officials have instructed them to do so. Illinois suspended indoor dining statewide on Wednesday, while a two-week stay-at-home order imposed by El Paso, Texas, through Nov. 11 has shut dining rooms.

McDonald’s and Starbucks say they aren’t shutting dining rooms across the board this time. Instead they are fine-tuning plans that they say allow them to serve customers inside safely, even as the virus continues to circulate across the U.S.

McDonald’s said it has told U.S. franchisees they may reopen dining rooms when coronavirus cases fall locally for three consecutive weeks.

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