Only English County Without A McDonald’s Gets Its First Branch
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The county now has its first branch of the fast food chain, following plans to build a diner and drive-thru that were approved back in January.
The restaurant, which is based on the outskirts of Oakham, opened its doors to customers yesterday, although from Thursday it will move to a drive-thru only service under the restrictions of England's second lockdown.
While McDonald's said the branch will create more than 65 jobs for the community, the new restaurant has faced some resistance from residents.
According to the BBC, there were 55 official objections made to Rutland County Council before it approved plans earlier this year, with one person writing: "I'm proud Rutland is the only county not to have a McDonald's."
Others also expressed their concern about how it may impact smaller, independent businesses in Oakham.
However, Lindsay Taylor - landlady of the Crown Tavern - said that once lockdown has lifted, the McDonald's branch could 'bring people to Oakham' and help other shops on the high street.
"At the end of the day people are worried about littering and that sort of stuff, but that's not McDonald's fault," she added.
"People think we live in a posh area, as it's Rutland, but there's a split."
Glyn Pashley, the franchise owner who operates the new McDonald's restaurant, said he was 'delighted to be opening in Oakham', and to launch 'the first [McDonald's] restaurant in Rutland'.
Earlier this week, McDonald's confirmed that drive-thru and delivery will still be available during England's second lockdown.
Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald's UK & Ireland, said: "At 00.01am on Thursday we will close our dining areas across England but, in line with Government guidance, we will remain open for takeaway, Drive Thru and McDelivery via Uber Eats and Just Eat.
"Following the first lockdown, together with our franchisees, we made significant changes to our restaurant operations and kitchens to enhance our health and safety procedures to help keep you our customers and our employees safe."
Pomroy said these measures include fewer people working on each shift, additional screens in kitchens and service areas, hand washing at least every 30 minutes and the provision of sanitiser for staff, delivery partners and customers.
Customers will also be asked to respect social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings when entering the restaurant.
He added: "Covid-19 continues to affect many thousands of people, and I know these latest restrictions will impact many people in different ways. I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well."