Twelve McDonald’s outlets have been closed in Victoria over a coronavirus-infected delivery driver, while the government has announced $2.7 billion to help revive the economy.
The fast-food outlets have been shut for deep-cleaning after the truck driver made deliveries while he was asymptomatic and unaware he had COVID-19.
The chain says no employee has tested positive in connection to the driver and customers are not at risk.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to close and conduct a deep clean of 12 restaurants in Victoria following confirmation a truck driver for an external service provider has tested positive for COVID-19,” McDonald’s said in a statement.
“Potential close contacts and employees who have worked specific shifts during and after the truck driver’s delivery have been instructed not to return to work for 14 days and advised to be tested.”
The Department of Health confirmed the driver was an extended family member of a worker at the McDonald’s in Fawkner, where a cluster emerged on May 9.
So far 11 cases have been linked to the cluster, including four staff and seven close contacts.
The site reopened on Wednesday, staffed by workers from elsewhere, after it had been closed for five days for deep-cleaning.
Among the close contacts of the Fawkner staff is a worker at the McDonald’s in Craigieburn, with that store also closed on Friday for cleaning.
Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Annaliese van Diemen said McDonald’s workers who have been asked to stay home won’t be returning until they return a negative COVID-19 test.
“We worked very closely with McDonald’s and they have taken all steps required by us, and then some, and they’ve done a very extensive investigation very quickly,” she said on Monday.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said the move to shut down stores showed McDonald’s was quicker to act than the government.
“If Daniel Andrews had acted as quickly over Cedar Meats as McDonald’s has over their stores, you wouldn’t have 100 people infected,” he said.
The Cedar Meats abattoir at the centre of a major coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne’s west has restarted its cold storage facility on Monday, with 15 to 20 staff cleared to work by the health department.
The McDonald’s closures come as Victoria tries to start reopening its economy and recorded six new cases, taking the tally to 1567 infections, around 120 of which are active.
One of the cases is a resident of the Villa Maria Aged Care facility in Bundoora.
The health department said the resident has been isolated in their room since developing mild symptoms, and all staff and residents will be tested over the coming days.
Meanwhile, Premier Daniel Andrews on Monday announced $2.7 billion for building projects to help the jobs revival.
The money includes $1.18 billion for schools infrastructure as well as cash for road maintenance, train station upgrades and refurbishment to public housing.
“Hundreds and hundreds of projects delivering thousands and thousands of jobs – that’s exactly what we need right at this time,” Mr Andrews said.
MCDONALD’S CLOSED IN MELBOURNE:
* Melton East
* Laverton North
* Taylors Lakes
* Hoppers Crossing
* Riverdale Village
* Calder Highway Northbound/Outbound
* Calder Highway Southbound/Inbound
* BP Rockbank Service Centre Outbound.