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Tim Hortons closes in-store seating, shifts focus to drive-thru

Toronto, Canada- 19th May 2014: The outside of a Tim Hortons Coffee Shop during the day. Bikes can be seen outside and people can be seen in the windows.

Starting Tuesday, Tim Hortons will close all in-store customer seating at most of its locations across the country, shifting its focus to take-out, drive-thru and delivery services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“As Canada’s leading restaurant brand, we have a responsibility not only to serve guests, but to protect them during this uncertain time,” Tim Hortons spokesperson Sarah McConnell said in an emailed statement on Monday.

McConnell said restaurants will voluntarily close all dining room seating “in most locations until further notice.”

“This is being done to contribute to social distancing that has been called for by public health officials,” she said.

The coffee and doughnut chain’s decision is the latest major step being taken by food service companies across North America in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

On Sunday, Starbucks said it would halt in-store seating for at least two weeks while limiting hours and shuttering a few shops in high traffic areas. In a memo sent to more than 220,000 partners across the U.S. and Canada, Starbucks plans to limit customers to carry out orders only, and will temporarily close company-operated stores in “high-social gathering locations” like shopping malls and university campuses.

By Monday afternoon, health authorities across the country began urging bars and dine-in restaurants to close to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams recommended bars and restaurants temporarily close immediately. Takeout and delivery options were not part of the recommendation.

Shortly after, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa recommended all bars, restaurants, nightclubs and theatres close on Monday afternoon. She said businesses that fail to comply with the recommendations will be subject to orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Uber Eats, a food delivery service app, said Monday it will waive all delivery fees amid concerns of the economic impact of the coronavirus. It will also allow restaurants to receive daily revenue payouts, instead of the company’s standard weekly payout.

With files from Yahoo Finance

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