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McDonald's is rolling out worker wellness checks and plans to start taking their temperatures amid the coronavirus outbreak

Business Insider logo Business Insider 4/2/2020 Kate Taylor
a person sitting on a bus © Yaoinlove/Shutterstock

McDonald's is rolling out new safety policies for workers as the fast-food giant attempts to rapidly adjust its response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Last week, McDonald's internally announced plans to roll out wellness checks at company- and franchisee-owned locations, requiring workers to answer a series of questions regarding possible COVID-19 symptoms and exposure after they clock in to start each shift. If they answer "yes" to any question, workers will be sent home and will not return to work until authorized by a medical professional.

McDonald's has also added new social distancing measures in locations and is working to roll out temperature checks in stores.

"We have secured thermometers and we're in the process now of quickly making them available to all of our restaurants," David Tovar, the vice president of US communications at McDonald's, told Business Insider on Wednesday.

Tovar said that, like Walmart, it will take McDonald's a few weeks to get the thermometers to all locations in the US. When all locations have thermometers, taking workers' temperatures will be a new step of the wellness checks.

McDonald's is also working to secure masks for employees in areas that have become hot spots for the coronavirus.

According to Tovar, McDonald's is also looking at worker perks such as hazard pay and bonuses, which have rolled out at retailers such as Target, Amazon, and Costco. However, Tovar says, McDonald's has no announcements to make on the topic at this time.

How McDonald's wellness checks work

McDonald's workers will need to answer the following questions:

  • Are they are showing symptoms associated with COVID-19?
  • Have they been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • Have they had close contact in the past 14 days with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • Have they been told by a health care provider or public health official they should self-quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure, or are they suspected of having COVID-19?

Tovar says that workers at company-owned stores who are sent home or need to take sick leave for reasons related to COVID-19 will be able to access 14 days of paid sick leave, as part of the chain's new policy.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires franchisees with between 50 and 500 workers - which Tovar says makes up a significant percentage of McDonald's franchisees - to offer two weeks of paid leave. Tovar says many franchisees have also adopted their own paid sick leave policies.

"Today, I feel very confident that the vast majority of employees who work for McDonald's are going to receive some type of paid sick leave," Tovar said.

McDonald's is adjusting to a rapidly evolving situation

a person standing in front of a store © AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

Tovar told Business Insider that McDonald's senior leadership team meets to discuss plans three times a day as the situation rapidly evolves.

"There are changes that are happening minute by minute," Tovar said.

McDonald's has emphasized its ability to provide food for the US during the coronavirus pandemic.

In meetings with government leaders, including President Donald Trump, the company discussed its ability to provide meals via drive-thru and delivery. Certain groups such as time-crunched healthcare workers and truckers rely on fast-food chains for quick, inexpensive meals.

"There's a McDonald's within five minutes of 75% of Americans," Tovar said. "We're very convenient."

Related video: We explored what McDonald's menu items look like around the world (Provided by INSIDER)

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