Chaotic scenes as McDonald's reopen in country hit hard by coronavirus

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

While the UK remains under lockdown as thousands of coronavirus cases are confirmed daily, fast-food lovers couldn’t resist the temptation when a handful of McDonald’s stores reopened.

Images from social media show lengthy queues outside outlets after the fast food giant reopened 33 stores in the UK for the first time in eight weeks on Wednesday (local time).

One staggering video shows a queue of cars snaking hundreds of metres down a busy London street with eager diners desperate to get their McDonald’s fix.

Cars queue at the McDonald's drive-thru in Hounslow. Source: PA via AAP

Twitter users were in disbelief over the lengths people were going to.

“Utterly ridiculous,” one person declared.

“The world has gone mad,” another said.

The reopening of the stores, all in southern England, came on a day temperatures hit 28 degrees – the hottest day of the year so far.

“Hottest day of the year. What better way to spend it then waiting in a car for hours for cheap, nasty fast food,” one person remarked.

Customers were left waiting for one hour to be served at a McDonald’s near Watford, The Guardian reported.

The reintroduction of McDonald’s came with a series of changes for staff, with employees given PPE for their shifts, while being separated from customers and other staff members with perspex screens.

The location of the 33 stores were only announced 45 minutes before they opened in a bid to avoid similar pandemonium in France and Switzerland where queues of up to seven hours developed.

Similar scenes appeared in New Zealand last month when stringent lockdown restrictions were finally eased.

Brits flock to beaches despite restrictions

Despite a slight decline in daily cases over the last fortnight, about 2500 daily cases are still being reported in the UK, while its death toll continues to steadily rise.

But that didn’t stop beachgoers heading for the seaside as temperatures soared in the UK.

Current lockdown restrictions in England allow for people to travel to leisure spots and meet with one other person outside their household, all while social distancing.

Bournemouth beach was one of many packed beaches in the UK on Wednesday despite current restrictions. Source: PA via AAP

South coast beaches such as Brighton and Bournemouth were awash with people soaking up the early summer’s sun, yet beaches as far north as Blackpool and even in Scotland’s capital Edinburgh saw a surge in visitors.

While some local councils insisted beachgoers were abiding by the rules, social media users feared a proportion of the UK’s population was inviting a second coronavirus wave.

Rural seaside spots were inundated with people from outside their communities, with local police in Ilfracombe and Braunton calling for people to stay away.

Taking to Twitter, officers said vehicles from “all over the country” had been detected in the area and the local roads were “gridlocked”.

“Please do not travel here,” was the message.

Officers in Edinburgh, where the ‘Stay at home’ instruction is still being implemented, were seen speaking with dozens of beachgoers.

The alarming scenes come 10 days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson relaxed some elements of England’s lockdown.

The UK currently has 249,619 cases and 35,786 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

A police officer speaks with a group sunbathing in Edinburgh. Source: Getty

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