The seven McDonald’s staff infected with Covid-19 had been deployed across nine different outlets, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.
This spurred the ministry to advise the fast-food giant to stop operations at its more than 135 outlets, including takeaway and delivery services, which it did on Sunday until May 4.
“As of 12pm, April 18, 2020, seven McDonald’s employees who had worked across nine different outlets have been found to have Covid-19 infection,” an MOH spokesman told The Straits Times.
“As a preventative action to prevent a possible outbreak, and to prevent or reduce the spread of Covid-19, the director of medical services, Ministry of Health, has directed McDonald’s to suspend operations of all outlets, including their delivery and drive-through services, until May 3, 2020 (inclusive).”
The fast-food giant had said on its Facebook page that it was advised by MOH to suspend operations.
Responding to queries from ST yesterday evening, a McDonald’s spokesman said the seven affected staff include a mix of restaurant managers and crew, and that none of them is a delivery rider.
One of them had initially worked at the Changi Airport Terminal 2 outlet, till it closed on April 1. In the next nine days, the employee was sent to work at three different outlets: Pasir Ris Central, Pasir Ris Sports Complex and a drive-through outlet at a Shell petrol kiosk in Tampines Avenue 2.
McDonald’s had on Sunday told ST that this drive-through outlet and its outlet at Changi Airport Terminal 3 were to be closed for deep cleaning after two employees tested positive for Covid-19.
This came after five other employees were diagnosed with the disease on April 12. They worked at outlets in Lido, Forum Galleria, Parklane and Geylang East Central.
According to McDonald’s, in the course of normal operations, it is necessary for it to sometimes deploy employees to other restaurants to provide support.
ST understands that McDonald’s moved crew members across its outlets during the ongoing circuit breaker period to help meet the manpower needs of branches that relied on Malaysian workers, who have decreased in number here.
Earlier yesterday, the McDonald’s spokesman told ST that after confirmation of the first few Covid-19 cases among its staff, it stopped all people movement with what it called a “stay-in-position principle”. The spokesman did not specify when this took place.
McDonald’s closed all its branches here at 11am on Sunday, and said they will remain closed till May 4 as a preventive measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.
McDonald’s employs more than 10,000 people in Singapore and serves more than six million customers every month.
It has said that it will continue to pay the salaries of all employees whose roles are disrupted.