Thanks to our unfortunate tendency to ignore experts, politicize face masks, and elect politicians who don’t know what they’re doing, the United States is largely paralyzed in the face of COVID-19. This means that (amongst other challenges) supermarkets are facing shortages, food producers are cutting products, and restaurants are sort of scary to eat at. In Ireland and the U.K., however, this isn’t the case. Not only is the pandemic far better controlled in these places, but McDonald’s has decided it’s safe enough to open 700 locations in those areas for dine-in service.
As reported by Reuters, things across the pond are significantly better than they are in the U.S. Life in the U.K. is gradually returning to some semblance of normalcy: earlier this month businesses like pubs, restaurants, and hair salons were given the all clear to start accepting customers again, and in all U.K. countries except Wales (where government restrictions remain in place), that includes McDonald’s. Anyone craving golden fries and insubstantial burgers will once again be able to sate themselves at a table inside any one of literally hundreds of McDonald’s locations.
McDonald’s is not my fast food franchise of choice, but the idea of being able to actually sit down in one to have a meal—a “things are normal, why wouldn’t we eat fast food burgers inside a greasy plastic room?” meal—is sort of amazing. That 700 of them are reopening across Ireland and the U.K. is damn near magical. It means that not only are parts of Europe faring much better than the United States in the face of a pandemic, but they are so far beyond us in terms of recovery that even their fast food operations put us to shame. I never would have predicted that other countries’ McDonald’s dining rooms would be nationally humbling, but this is 2020, the year that simply will not stop giving.