Chick-fil-A on Sunday said it was closing its dining rooms to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, although drive-thrus – and in some cases takeout and delivery – would remain open.
“Our highest priority continues to be the health and well-being of everyone who comes into our restaurants,” a statement on the company’s website said. “As we navigate the evolving impact of coronavirus on our communities, we are temporarily closing our dining room seating to help limit person-to-person contact.”
Drive-thrus will remain open, although other restaurant features – such as delivery – will depend on the location.
“Some of our restaurants may only offer service through our drive-thrus, while others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options,” Chick-fil-A said. “Thanks for your patience. We know these are challenging times, but we’ll continue to do our best to serve you.”
The decision came as local and state governments issued orders closing food establishments. California, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington have closed restaurants and bars for dining in, as have Los Angeles and New York City.
As of Monday morning, 3,800 people in the United States had been diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Johns Hopkins University, although thousands more are believed to have it due to the recent shortage of tests. Worldwide, 174,000 have it. The worldwide mortality rate is 3.8 percent. In Italy – where an outbreak has shut down the country – the death rate is 0.91 percent for the entire population but 9.26 percent for those 80 and above, and 5.27 percent for those in their 70s.
By comparison, the death rate for the flu is 0.1 percent. Unlike the flu, there is no vaccine for COVID-19.
The number of reported cases in the U.S. has increased 30-fold in just 11 days, when there were 129 cases on March 4.
Starbucks has closed its dining rooms and is making all orders “to go.” Taco Bell said last week some of its restaurants were operating drive-thru-only and that all of its restaurants may soon close their dining rooms.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Tom Pennington/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.