Chick-fil-A limits service to drive-thru only

Chick-fil-A said late Sunday that it would close the seating in its dining rooms, joining Starbucks in shifting away from table service in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Atlanta-based chicken sandwich chain said in a notice on its website that it would temporarily close its dining room seating.

The company said some of its restaurants “may only offer service through drive-thrus, while others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile-order options.”

“Thanks for your patience,” the company said. “We know these are challenging times, but we’ll continue to do our best to serve you.”

Starbucks on Sunday said it would temporarily close some of its coffee shops and close seating inside company-owned U.S. and Canada locations. Chick-fil-A is the largest, food-centric fast-food chain to take this step.

Others are expected to do the same this week as a growing number of local governments begin forbidding dine-in service.

Governments are taking that step as part of increasingly drastic measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, including closing schools and restricting gatherings to as few as 25 people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday said it recommended against gatherings with 50 or more people.

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest restaurant chain in the U.S., with just under 2,400 locations. The chain said just on Friday that it would close its playgrounds and serve meals in takeout packaging and would no longer offer drive-thru customers a printed menu.