This story was originally published on March 13, 2020 and will be continuously updated in the coming days.
So many of our daily interactions are part of a long chain of contact. Our packages zoom across the world before we welcome them into our homes. We order food, rent clothes, share cars, gyms, and even homes. We live in constant contact with one another and in times of social distancing, we take small steps to scale back potential exposure.
Restaurants and fast food joints are springing into action, some to strictly inhibit the further spread of the novel COVID-19, others to surface the products and services you're more likely to turn to now that you're working from home. It's important not to panic, but we should still be smart: wash our hands often, disinfect communal surfaces, limit our movement, and avoid large crowds. These restaurant chains are going the extra mile in doing their part and also working hard to give you peace of mind.
Be prepared to have your reusable tumblers and hot cups turned away, as Starbucks has temporarily suspended its reusable cup program. Today, CEO Kevin Johnson announced that the company will be taking further measures, like limiting in-restaurant seating. In some cases, it will shift stores to "mobile order-only scenarios" or just drive-thru. In more extreme cases, Starbucks has stated it will resort to closing individual stores.
Starting Monday, March 16, Sweetgreen will transition to a fully-online experience, which means that only pick-up and delivery orders will be fulfilled. Delivery is now free. Customers will not be allowed in restaurants until pick up times. Some stores might be closed and operating hours might be reduced.
In a March 13 email to customers, Sweetgreen announced it will make hand sanitizer widely available to guests as well as personnel dedicated to cleaning communal surfaces. While the company plans to maintain regular operations, it is prepared to shift to "pick-up only ordering scenarios" or only catering to delivery orders placed through the app.
Starting Monday, March 16, Chick-Fil-A will be closing down its seating areas. Drive-thru services will continue when available and so will delivery, take out, and pick up orders.
Taco Bell announced on Friday that it will cater only to delivery and pick-up orders, effectively closing down sitting areas. It will also provide drive-thru services, where available.
Starting Monday, March 16, Just Salad will waive all delivery fees on orders paid through the app and on its website, and deliveries will now be fully contactless. Those who insist on pick-up orders will be met at the door by an employee.
Starting March 17 in-store ordering and dining in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Chicago will be suspended until further notice.
Just Salad has recently taken steps to halt the reusable bowl program it’s best-known for. The company stresses that its reusable bowl program adheres only to the highest hygiene standards but the company said it recognizes that the program, "could create additional anxiety" for some guests. As of March 13, anyone who brings in a reusable bowl will be served salad in one of Just Salad's disposable bowls but will still get the free topping benefit.
Starting Sunday, March 15, Chipotle is aiding limited social contact by offering free delivery through the end of the month. Orders will be trackable thanks to a newly-introduced delivery tracker.
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources