People wear protective face masks outside of a McDonald & # 39; s location in New York City.
Noam Galai | Getty Images
McDonald & # 39; s will be running coronavirus safety reviews of its restaurants for the next six weeks amid health experts fear that Covid fatigue is adding to the record number of new cases in the US.
The 7-day average of the new Covid-19 cases was over 131,400 on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. According to a CNBC analysis, the rate of new daily infections has increased 32% compared to the same time last week.
The surge in infections has led some states and communities to announce tighter restrictions ahead of the holiday season. For example, New York State has introduced a nightly curfew at 10 p.m. for indoor and outdoor dining. Some places, like McDonald & # 39; s hometown of Chicago, have again banned indoor eating.
McDonald & # 39; s will be conducting one visit per franchisee, according to an internal notice to US operators that was viewed by CNBC. The ratings were created in collaboration with the franchisee's management. Charlie Strong, McDonald’s US Chief Field Officer, Mark Salebra, Chairman of the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance, and Tracy Johnstone, Franchisee, wrote the letter.
The inspections assess how a franchisee is performing the "five most important operating minima". Once the work is done, the franchisees must ensure that the rest of their locations also follow best practices. The goal is to complete all visits by December 31st.
Salebra and Johnstone also emphasized the importance of using devices to enable contactless payment and enable social distancing in the kitchen.
"We will conclude by reminding the system that our actions will be very closely monitored by consumers, crew members and other external stakeholders," the letter said.
The fast food giant has been charged on multiple occasions for failing to adequately protect the company's franchisees from contracting the virus. In one case, a judge in Chicago found that McDonald & # 39; s was not negligent, but had to better train its employees in social distancing and the correct wearing of masks.
McDonald & # 39; s U.S. President Joe Erlinger wrote in a Medium post published Friday that the chain will hold multiple roundtable discussions to discuss its Covid-19 prevention practices with others in the industry.
"This is an area where we don't see anyone as a competitor. The more an organization of our size and scale can share what we've learned, the more we can help make everyone safer," he said.
Erlinger also said the infection rate at McDonald's restaurants is lower than that of the general US population, but the company is aiming to eliminate new cases. He asked employees to report suspicious cases via the chain's Covid hotline.
"After all, the success of McDonald's – just like the success of Walmart, Apple, Starbucks or any other US-based company – depends on us all getting back to a normal version as soon as possible," he wrote.
McDonald & # 39; s shares were virtually unchanged on Friday afternoon. The stock, valued at $ 164 billion, is up 7% this year.