By Joe Erlinger, President, McDonald’s USA
March 23, 2020 – Through this very stressful time, McDonald’s is here to serve communities across the United States. Our customers, employees and communities are counting on us now more than ever to provide them the meaningful support, delicious food and good paying jobs they need.
We are proud that our customers and their families depend on us. We don’t want to let them down. In the United States, we provide critically needed, contactless ways for families, the elderly, truck drivers, health care workers and first responders to get the fresh food they need every day through drive-thru, carry-out and delivery service. And we know this because they’re thanking us for it. One customer from Iowa said this week: “I appreciate the drive thru staying open, it is nice to have a sense of normalcy in these unusual times. Seeing and talking to Evelyn always makes my day better. She is a blessing!”
As the President of McDonald’s USA, I have been enormously proud to see how our independent franchisees have stepped up to help their customers and communities at this unsettling time. Embedded in their communities, many of them are offering free breakfasts and lunches to children who are now out of school. They are offering free drive-thru meals to older people who might be in need, and free coffee to first responders and healthcare workers. They are allowing their parking lots to be used for medical purposes. They are helping to feed people at Salvation Army shelters. Every day, more and more stories pour in that are inspiring and prove again and again what is best about the Golden Arches.
While we continue to serve our communities, the safety, wellness and economic security of our customers and employees is our top priority as it has been throughout our 65-year history and especially today. That’s why we have taken significant precautions to protect our customers and employees from COVID-19: closing many of our dine-in sections, closing all play areas, increasing cleanings, particularly in high-traffic areas, and making hand sanitizer available in our restaurants.
In addition, when one of our employees feels or gets sick, we are making sure they can stay home and get well. That’s why on March 10, we announced that we would provide two weeks paid leave for employees of company-owned restaurants who are impacted by the virus. To be clear, that means if they are showing symptoms, have been exposed or have tested positive, they have two weeks paid sick leave to tend to their critical health needs. This pro-active policy in addition to the emergency paid leave mandated by the Families First Corona Response Act means that employees working for a large number of our franchisees will have paid sick leave if they are impacted by COVID-19.
During these difficult economic times, we are also vigilant in our role as an employer. We have been working tirelessly in this crisis to continue to serve our communities so we can provide the jobs our employees need. As reported by the National Restaurant Association this week, the restaurant industry stands to lose five to seven million jobs as a result of the Coronavirus. Combined with our franchisees, McDonald’s provides approximately 850,000 jobs in the U.S. and pays billions in payroll every year. That’s why we have been working to ensure our franchisees, many of whom are small business owners, have the economic support they need so they aren’t forced to close their doors. If they can stay open, they are able to give their employees job security and peace of mind in a safe environment.
Providing calm and comfort to McDonald’s customers, employees and communities is what McDonalds is all about. We are all in this together. We are here to serve.