McDonald's Fans Queue for Hours After Drive-Thrus Open for First Time Since Lockdown in France

People have been spotted queuing for hours to get food from McDonald's restaurants in France, after several stores reopened for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.

Fast food fans waited for up to three hours in traffic jams outside the branch in Moissy-Cramayel, in the northern Île-de-France region.

After weeks of being shut, the restaurant chain has reopened several of its drive-thru stores. The roads soon became gridlocked as people rushed to get their fill of fast food.

"I had to take another route to get home because there were so many people," a 24-year-old local called Josua told French newspaper Le Parisien. "People have posted messages and videos on Snapchat. Friends waited up to three hours to get their McDonalds."

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, areas of Europe are seeing signs of the outbreak slowing down. Germany, the Czech Republic, and Norway have begun to lift some restrictions this week, while France and Spain ruled out any relaxation for several weeks.

There are currently more than 159,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in France and the death toll stands at 20,796, with more than 39,800 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University.

French officials said on Sunday that although the virus appeared to be under control there, the country's strict lockdown would continue for at least another three weeks. President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that schools would begin to open from 11 May, but the process would be gradual.

"It is an epidemic unique in France in modern history and it is not finished," said Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. "We are making progress against this epidemic. The situation is improving slowly but surely... But we are not out of the health crisis. To think the epidemic is behind us would be an error."

He added: "Our lives after 11 May will not be exactly the same as before the lockdown. Not at once and probably not for a long time."

"We have to learn to live with the virus," Philippe said. "We see the population is not immunised—it may be one day, but today it is not, the circulation of the virus has been restrained. Nor will we have a vaccine before 2021…and at this stage there is no treatment that has been shown to work. That leaves us one instrument: prevention."

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Fast food fans waited for up to three hours in traffic jams in northern France Tim Boyle/Getty Images