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As McDonald's reopens some Northern Ireland outlets the food's not so fast due to queues, but it's still a very happy meal

There were plenty of happy faces and filled bellies as McDonald's reopened a number of drive-thrus in Co Down for the first time since lockdown began.

Queues of cars lined up outside the fast food chain's branches in Bangor and Newtownards yesterday as hungry customers flocked to get their grub.

Despite the limited menu due to the Covid-19 crisis, and the long wait in line, not one person complained as the Belfast Telegraph spoke to McDonald's fans in Bangor.

Kirsty Wylie from the town said: "I'm getting Happy Meals, a Big Mac and a quarter pounder. We're really looking forward to it. It hasn't been a long wait for it to reopen for me, but for the kids it has.

"We've been queuing for about 10 minutes. It's going quite quickly and I thought it would have taken a lot longer."

Staff were more than helpful as they spoke to queuing customers explaining the menu changes, the £25 spend limit and the use of the McDonald's app, which allows you to pick your meal even before you talk into the intercom.

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The queue for McDonalds in Bangor yesterday

The queue for McDonalds in Bangor yesterday

The queue for McDonalds in Bangor yesterday

Friends Kelsie Mercer and Zara Walker said they were getting as much food as £25 would allow and they couldn't wait for it.

"We were actually going to the shop so we decided to go to McDonald's for lunch," Kelsie added.

This reporter refused to be left out as I queued for 29 minutes and 46 seconds to get my (very big) mouth around a long-awaited Big Mac.

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Belfast Telegraph reporter Ralph Hewitt gets his teeth into the story...and a Big Mac

Belfast Telegraph reporter Ralph Hewitt gets his teeth into the story...and a Big Mac

Belfast Telegraph reporter Ralph Hewitt gets his teeth into the story...and a Big Mac

The friendly service on the intercom boomed out: "Welcome back to McDonald's." Music to my ears.

After ordering two large Big Mac meals, a double cheeseburger with everything on it, and six Chicken McNuggets, I was greeted at the first window with a staff member wearing all of the appropriate personal protective equipment.

Paying contactless isn't necessary, but the card machine was sprayed with disinfectant after every payment.

I found everything I ordered placed neatly in the brown paper bag. It's safe to say I enjoyed my first Big Mac since before lockdown - as the pictures might tell you.

Lisa Taylor and her young son Carter were queuing among the line of over 50 people, which snaked its way through the barriers in the car park. It was doubly good news for Carter as ice-cream is still on the menu.

"My son is getting a cheeseburger meal and ice-cream," Lisa said.

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Carers Laurel May and Beth Leckey wait in Newtownards

Carers Laurel May and Beth Leckey wait in Newtownards

Carers Laurel May and Beth Leckey wait in Newtownards

"He's been waiting for it for ages but I'm not getting anything today. The queue is going down fast, which I'm pleased about."

Philip Thompson and his family had their minds made up well before they placed their order.

"We're all getting McChicken Sandwich meals," he said.

"I've to get one extra as I've another daughter at home who wants one too. The queue's not bad."

Natasha McWilliams was in and out in less than 20 minutes and had the passenger seat full of Happy Meals.

"I've been sent out on the family run and thankfully the queue has moved really quickly," said Natasha. "I got Happy Meals for the kids and Happy Meals for me and my mum as well. It smells really good."

Charles Russell had been looking forward to this day for three months and was delighted with how smoothly things went despite the lunchtime rush. "We got a couple of Happy Meals and some double cheeseburgers," he told us.

"It was queued right around the car park, but it was no bother."

Finally, Sigourney Patterson and Heidi Quinn were all smiles as they got their favourite - a plain double cheeseburger.

"We just don't like the burger dressed," she explained.

"It has been ages since we last had one."

Twenty four more McDonald's opened on Wednesday across Northern Ireland.

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots MLA said it was very encouraging given the firm's reliance on the local beef and dairy sectors.

"Fast food outlets purchase large quantities of produce from our farmers and their temporary closure had a big impact on the agri-food sector," he said.

"They have gone to great lengths to put in place social distancing measures that will protect their staff and their customers.

"The importance of getting this market open and moving again cannot be underestimated and will be a relief for many of those who supply McDonald’s with their high-quality, locally reared beef and dairy produce.

"As we move into recovery after Covid-19, my priority has been and will continue to be, ensuring that we have a profitable and sustainable agriculture sector that is ready and able to meet the rising demands of the market once it opens fully again.”

Belfast Telegraph