McDonald's burgers for donation only
  • The South African government is discussing a plan that would see some McDonald's kitchens – but not stores – reopen before the national Covid-19 lockdown ends.
  • There would be no sale to the public, but some McDonald's outlets would prepare food for donation via non-profit organisations.
  • The McDonald's meals would go to "the poor and vulnerable".
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.


The South African government is considering an exception to the hard ban on fast-food during the national Covid-19 lockdown: McDonald's.

But though some of the group's kitchens would come back online under the plan, they would not be selling burgers to the public. Instead they would only prepare food for donation via non-profit organisations.

The McDonald's meals would go to "the poor and vulnerable", government decision-makers have been told.

The plan is part of a set of measures under discussion to reduce the social toll of the lockdown and plan for the phased reopening of the South African economy.

Fast food restaurants are explicitly banned from operating during the lockdown, and the hot food sold by supermarkets has been banned, with indications that prepared microwavable food – but not biltong – would also be banned.

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In one formulation of the plan, "McDonald staff to be allowed to prepare food in some stores to address hunger amongst the poor people during Covid-19 pandemic" according to a slide presentation circulated within government.

Food is a scarce commodity in some communities, the presentation argues, so "additional food to the poor and vulnerable people will be of importance".

Only some stores would reopen, and those would be held to similar or higher standards of infection control required of essential businesses that are allowed to operate currently. 

Nobody will be able to buy a hamburger, Business Insider South Africa understands.

McDonalds would not comment on the plan.

"McDonald’s South Africa is still waiting for the approval of our food donation by the Department of Social Development, so we cannot comment further at this time, said Daniel Padiachy, chief marketing office of McDonald’s South Africa.

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