Shortly after the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in late December 2019, we’ve started hearing authorities telling us more and more to avoid areas full of people, crowds and locations where more people sit in close proximity to each other. These warnings come from doctors, the government, Washington D.C. and organizations like the CDC and WHO. It’s clear to see that everyone should avoid places where a lot of people go to, as this can maximize the spreading potential of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
How Easy Is It for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to Be Spread in Three Massively Popular Places Like Starbucks, McDonald’s and KFC?
Whether they’re in the mood for some fast food, or a fast coffee break, people will inevitably queue up next to each other whenever they order something in places like McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks or other fast food and coffeehouse chains – sitting at tables, eating or drinking their coffee in very close proximity to each other.
People carrying the coronavirus (COVID-19) may be going through an incubation period of the virus, which can last from 2 days, all the way up to 14 days, with isolated cases showing symptoms after 20 days. Infected individuals may spread the virus unknowingly through droplets from coughing or sneezing, droplets which will land surfaces as far as two meters away from the person carrying it. As they use their hands to touch surfaces, reusable cups, door handles, tables, chairs, and so on, just like everyone else in the U.S. in public places and fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, KFC or Starbucks, they might spread the virus to a couple of people. The current infection rate from any one person carrying the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) varies from one to four people, but many infections have happened due to surface spreading, so the ratio remains unclear.
Can Coffee Shops or Fast Food Restaurants Like McDonald’s, KFC or Starbucks Do Anything About This?
Up to this moment, the National ENQ team has not seen significant changes being done to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in fast food restaurants, coffee shops and other frequently crowded public places, and risks of infection in places like KFC, Starbucks or McDonald’s continue to rise, as more people get infected, and more people continue to queue up in lines next to each other to order their food or drink and risk spreading the virus, as they are in very close contact.
Obviously, precautions should be taken and disinfecting procedures should start immediately in places like KFC, McDonald’s or Starbucks, as the dangerous coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in large cities like Los Angeles or New York City, where the said public restaurants and coffee shops are routinely visited by millions of inhabitants of the cities. Not taking the proper measures could lead to places like Starbucks, McDonald’s or KFC infecting many other people, thus causing panic, numerous local outbreaks and community spread.
Based on facts and the information that we’ve learnt about the coronavirus (COVID-19) at this point, chains like McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks should organize and upgrade their procedures, change the way they operate, in order to, if not to eliminate, then significantly reduce the possibility of the coronavirus spreading, as it is an obvious risk currently, one that needs to be minimized.
We have seen significant increase in the big, more successful cities of the United States, such as Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco or Miami, where McDonald’s, Starbucks and KFC locations are abundant and full of people every single day. Again, authorities, medical and other institutions are advising the population to avoid crowds as much as possible, and fast food restaurants or coffee shops, where there’s bound to be human contact, are a very high risk.
Will McDonald’s, Starbucks and KFC Employees Spread the Coronavirus?
We must not forget that the very high risk isn’t only for the customers of Starbucks, McDonald’s and KFC, but also for the employees, as they have to work next to everyone, enabling them to catch and further spread the coronavirus (COVID-19) to customers and many other people, putting many people’s health and lives, as well as their own at risk, maybe without even knowing it.
As a lot of major corporations, including some with headquarters in Silicon Valley, have already started telling workers to stay at home, should Starbucks, McDonald’s and KFC executives ask their employees to stay home temporarily, until there’s no more risk of community spread, or until the outbreak is in its containment phase.
The National ENQ team would like to know your opinion – what should companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s or KFC do, in order to minimize the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading at their locations? Feel free to leave a comment below.