Several McDonald’s stores in Indonesia were forced to close this week after a special “BTS dinner”, named after the hugely popular Korean boyband, attracted a crowd of delivery drivers who violated safe distance measures.
On Wednesday, the first day that the limited-edition meal was available, a rush of orders was placed – but because of Covid-19, most were made online. This led to troopers of motorcycle drivers arriving at shops in Indonesia, with most restaurants unwilling to manage the turnout.
In Jakarta, the capital, police said Wednesday that they temporarily closed 32 McDonald’s stores ‘because they were found to have violated health protocols’, including limiting capacity to 50 per cent and avoiding crowds.
The BTS meal consists of nine chicken nuggets, two sauces, medium fries and a drink and comes in a box with a purple logo. It is being launched in almost 50 other countries and is available in Indonesia until next month.
But because almost anything related to BTS is causing a frenzy, there are concerns that the introduction of the meal could attract people in some Asian countries where cases of coronavirus have recently risen and where vaccination levels remain relatively low. The deployment of the dinner in Singapore was delayed last month after the government tightened distance rules, including a ban on eating in restaurants.
Indonesia, which has one of the highest effects of coronavirus in Asia, has seen a surge in infections in recent weeks as more people gathered and traveled during Eid al-Fitr, which is the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. . New daily cases have risen by 26 percent in the past two weeks, and only 4 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database.
Indonesian fans of the Korean group admitted that delivery managers faced long queues and possible exposure to the coronavirus to bring their BTS meal. Online message groups have asked customers to reward managers with nice tips. At Kitabisa, a crowdfunding site, several initiatives raise money for managers and their families.
One user named Vanessa Egas asked for donations to reach a goal of 25 million rupees, about $ 1,750, to ‘repay the kindness of our brother drivers who stood in line for hours to finish the BTS meal liver.’ By Friday, she had exceeded that goal and according to the website started paying out the money.
In other developments from around the world:
The Philippines began weakening the restrictions on movements across the capital, Manila and nearby provinces, prompting a variety of activities to resume, the government said Friday. Harry Roque, spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, has announced that indoor non-contact sports venues, such as gyms, gyms, skating rinks and racquet sports facilities, will be allowed to reopen at around 30 per cent of their capacity. Historic sites and museums will also be allowed to operate with limited capacity, but guided tours will remain prohibited. He added that older adults who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed to move more freely, with proof of vaccination.
Jason Gutierrez contribution made.