McDonald’s in downtown Red Deer closed its doors Thursday after an employee was tested positive for coronavirus. The restaurant’s drive-thru was open Friday morning. Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff

Updated: Red Deer’s downtown McDonald’s staffer tests positive for COVID

McDonald’s drive-thru opens Friday

Customers who found locked doors at Red Deer’s downtown McDonald’s on Friday morning after a staff tested positive for COVID-19 see it as the new reality.

“Unfortunately, I think it is (a sign of the times),” said Jerry Anderson, a regular at the restaurant at 4840 52 Ave. “There are too many people ignoring the protocols.”

McDonald’s said in a statement that “out of an abundance of caution” the downtown location was immediately shut down on Thursday after getting word of the employee’s positive test.

The outlet was thoroughly cleaned and sanitized by a certified third party and the drive-thru re-opened at 8 a.m. on Friday. The sit-down portion of the restaurant was still closed on Friday afternoon.

“All crew members who may have been in close contact with the employee have been asked to self-quarantine until further information is available,” said the company.

The employee last worked an Aug. 17 shift from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

“For any guests who may have visited the restaurant on Aug. 17 please take directions from the experts at Alberta Health Services,” says McDonald’s.

Anderson does not point the finger at restaurant staff. Their jobs require them to be in contact with numerous people and there is no telling how the virus was transmitted or where.

“How can you blame someone who is trying to support themselves or trying to support themselves to raise a family?”

The restaurant has also been very diligent about cleanliness, he said. Staff have have come around cleaning two or three times in the 20 minutes it took him to finish his meal in previous visits.

“It’s life. Nobody’s 100 per cent, I don’t care how good you are.”

Where the blame often lies is with members of the public who are not taking the virus seriously enough and ignoring common-sense guidelines to limit its spread.

“Unfortunately, we like our freedoms, but I think some of these health policies have got to be better enforced,” he said.

Another customer said he was not overly concerned by the temporary closure. He pointed out a Tim Hortons in Gasoline Alley went through the same thing and he expects there will be more temporary restaurant closures as positive cases pop up.

The Tim Hortons in Gasoline Alley was closed for cleaning, re-opening on Wednesday, after a worker there tested positive for the virus.

Knowing that a restaurant had a COVID case would not stop him from dining there, he said.

He and his wife have been very careful going out to public places because she has had lung surgery, which makes her more vulnerable.

McDonald’s says that in addition to their usual high standards of cleanliness they have adopted enhanced safety measures including:

•Hand sanitizer dispensers available inside the restaurant

•High-touch surfaces and guest tables will be kept clean and sanitized

•Floor markers to help guests keep their distance from one other

•Front counters are fitted with protective screens

•Clearly marked tables for dine-in to respect physical distancing

The number of guests permitted inside a restaurant at one time will be limited based on restaurant size. This also applies to outdoor seating spaces

Employees will wear gloves for taking payment and serving guests, and wear masks at all times while working in the restaurant

McDonald’s encourages guests to wear a mask or face covering when using the premises.

“Maintaining the health and well-being of our crew and guests is our top priority, and we will continue to monitor and adapt measures, where necessary.”



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