Mystery of McDonald’s Closure Revealed: It’s Due to The COVID-19 Patients Being Deployed to Other Outlets

When I used to work in F&B after my O-level, it was common for me to be deployed to another outlet, though I was usually in one main outlet

Sometimes, the change was extremely last minute; I could be told to go to another outlet hours before I started my shift.

And it turns out that it’s due to this kind of arrangement that might have led to us having Burger King or KFC for the next two weeks.

Movement of Employees Across Different Outlets

When McDonald’s suddenly announced its closure, we were all taken by surprise: why the drastic move?

Why are bubble tea stalls still open by McDonald’s outlets are closed?

But there have been writings on the wall of its impending closure: on 12 April 2020, 5 employees from 4 different outlets were reported to be COVID-19 positive, and a day before McDonald’s closed all its shutters, 2 more employees from 2 outlets were reported positive.

That would mean that 6 outlets were closed for disinfection…until you realise this:

Those 7 innocent COVID-19 patients had been working in 9 outlets and not 6 outlets.

Image: tenor

So did someone in McDonald’s failed his or her maths?

No; it’s because like what I’ve mentioned, it’s common to move crew members across different outlets.

And according to TODAYonline, McDonald’s has said that the reason for the movement is due to the “impact of the reduced availability of Malaysian employees.”

Lest you’ve just woken up on April and hope that the COVID-19 outbreak is over, something happened in March that led to panic buying in Singapore: Malaysia started its “lockdown” and Malaysia workers in Singapore aren’t allowed to commute between JB and Singapore daily.

That led to a group of Malaysia workers leaving Singapore with unpaid leave until the “lockdown” is over, while another group stayed in Singapore to continue working.

Of course we’d ask: is it a good idea to move manpower across outlets during the Circuit Breaker period?

McDonald’s said, “It was necessary for us to stay nimble with manpower availability (especially with the impact of the reduced availability of Malaysian employees situation), and hence natural to leverage our people resources to support specific restaurants that might need more help with staffing — usually within the same geographical area.

“This was done with every safety precautionary measure already put in place for our employees, including an enforcement of personal hygiene, twice-daily temperature-taking, washing of hands and wearing of masks (since early April).”

Well, that move, unfortunately, backfired.

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Told by MOH to Close

The burning question of whether McDonald’s has voluntarily closed all outlets or not has been answered: an MOH spokesperson told The Straits Times this: “As a preventative action to prevent a possible outbreak, and to prevent or reduce the spread of Covid-19, the Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, has directed McDonald’s to suspend operations of all outlets, including their delivery and drive-through services, until 3 May 2020 (inclusive).”

The reason for the “direction” to suspend operations?

MOH said, “As of 12pm, 18 April 2020, seven McDonald’s employees who had worked across nine different outlets have been found to have Covid-19 infection.”

Yeah, you got it: seeing how fast the virus can spread, a full closure would definitely be a best option since we’re no longer talking about 6 confined outlets but a cluster that could potentially spread to every outlet.

Because remember: 7 of them have been to 9 outlets. There are more people in each outlet that could have moved to other outlets.

Imagine you telling your kids this: “Oh, last time during the COVID-19 outbreak, I ordered a Fillet-O-Fish lah then I kena…”

Not exactly a cool way to explain how you’ve contributed to fighting the virus.

McDonald’s has, however, said that since the first case was confirmed, they’ve stopped moving its crew members across different outlets, and that has a fancy name: a “stay in position principle.”

All Burning Questions Answers

If you’ve downloaded the Goody Feed app and come to the app daily, you’d have read an article whereby I posed five burning questions about McDonald’s closure many days ago.

Reader Bao: Erm, that was just yesterday?

Damn, two days without McDonald’s seems like two weeks.

Today, it seemed like all the answers have been answered.

Here are the questions and the answers:

What’ll Happen to The Staff?
Well, all the employees will still be paid.

What’ll Happen to the Food?
Short shelf life items would be discarded.

Does the Closure Have to Do With Their Employees Being Tested Positive?

What’s Their Real Stand?
It was MOH that “directed” them to close.

Is That a Wrong Message Or Is There Something More to It?
Well, there’s something more to it and it’s all revealed in this article.

So at least now, we know the answer to the question that we ask ourselves every morning when we want to order a McGriddles: it’s indeed necessary to close all McDonald’s outlets.

I bet other fast food chains have stopped moving their crew members around.

Reader Bao: How did you know they do it too?

Remember that I mentioned how I was deployed to other outlets even way before the grandfather of COVID-19, SARS, was born? This is most probably a very common practice.

In the meantime, bubble tea stalls are still open so your other comfort food hasn’t been taken away. But before downing 15 cups of bubble tea daily, you might want to watch this video about bubble tea first:

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