Despite the Indian government’s guidelines to not use biometric machines at the workplace in order to prevent COVID-19, it seems US-based McDonald's has taken the advisory a bit lightly, risking the lives of its workers as well as those of consumers across Delhi.
Several hundred employees working at McDonald's across the country are anxious over a rule that makes them mandatorily use biometric or, thumb impressions while arriving at or leaving the workplace.
Speaking to Sputnik, a senior manager of McDonald's in Delhi told Sputnik: “The issue of biometric is of a deep concern at all McDonald's functioning during the lockdown. During these testing times, the machines can be the hub of this virus (COVID-19)".
The food outlet’s official explained that after the first lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, starting 25 March, McDonald's suspended the functioning of all its outlets across India. However, the company’s outlets re-opened on 8 April and it suspended the biometric attendance system. But the same attendance system was restarted after a couple of days.
“Initially, for the first two days, after the company came under essentials (services) category we were made to register our entries (or exit) in the register. However, after that were ordered that biometric attendance system would be used. Besides government urging the companies to not use biometric, McDonald's is still not following the guidelines”, an employee working at an outlet in northern Delhi claimed.
Speaking to Sputnik, several other employees stated that it’s not about risking the lives of people who are working at the outlets, “but also those who are associated with this brand”. “They trust the food safety and hygiene standards, ordering the food from these places in this pandemic time. It is like risking the life of them and their families”.
The outlet's managers and employees in Gurugram city, Haryana, are now requesting that the local McDonald's authorities stop the biometric system at outlets for staff and public safety.
“Even if one person is found to be infected it can happen to 50-60 working at one outlet. Plus, imagine the number of those the employees would be coming in contact with. It can easily lead to forming a chain of the virus. We as a nation can come out of this problem soon. But if it is not stopped, it can take the shape of disaster in a short span of time”, an outlet manager working at a branch in Gurugram city in Haryana said.
Several attempts to approach McDonald's officials through calls or messages were made, but no official responded to Sputnik.
Earlier, on Thursday, around 70 people in Delhi's posh locality had to self-quarantine after a delivery boy associated with a famous pizza chain tested positive for COVID-19.
There are over 1,000 McDonald's outlets across India.
According to the federal Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the country has reported 12,759 people as the number of total confirmed COVID-19 cases, while many as 420 people have lost their lives due to the virus and 1,514 people have recovered from the deadly disease.