Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, which has 260 locations in Georgia, said it is taking “additional time” to reopen its dining rooms in states that are starting to ease business restrictions.
“Safe service is our top priority,” the company said in a statement. “As some states begin to ease restrictions on the closure of local businesses, we are going to take additional time to review our operations and ensure we have necessary precautions in place to protect our guests and team members before we reopen our dining rooms.”
Workers answering the phone Friday at a handful of Chick-fil-A restaurants in Georgia said their locations have no plans to reopen dining rooms on Monday, the first day the governor is permitting restaurants to resume dine-in services.
According to a state executive order, restaurants can accept dine-in customers provided they follow more than 30 guidelines such as limiting guests to 10 patrons per 500-square feet of space. The guidelines, which are similar to standards released Thursday by the National Restaurant Association, also list several mandates.
For example, employees are required to wear masks at all times. Hand shaking is prohibited. Restaurants must discontinue using salad bars and buffets. By comparision, the NRA said restaurants should install sneeze guards along buffet bars in jurisdictions where such services are allowed.
Georgia’s governor has come under fire for reopening the economy before it meets the federal government’s criteria for a phase one reopening. The state, however, began easing restrictions on Friday, April 24, for non-essential businesses such as salons, gyms and tattoo parlors.
Chick-fil-A did not return a request for comment when asked about its reopening plans. The company, along with other national restaurant chains, has been escalating its safety measures regularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last few weeks, Chick-fil-A has deployed face coverings for workers, installed hand washing stations at drive-thru lanes and began asking customers to swipe their own credit cards to limit person-to-person contact.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, restaurants have been providing free meals to frontline workers and local communities even as they face catastrophic revenue losses tied to stay-at-home mandates.
Earlier this week, Chick-fil-A created a $10.8 million community relief fund that will be distributed through its network of more than 1,800 franchisees.
“Striving to be a supportive, caring and generous neighbor is in our DNA,” CEO Dan Cathy said in an April 20 statement. “Our restaurant operators give back locally in so many ways, and this time is no exception."
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