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Taco Bell, other chains giving food, discounts amid coronavirus crisis

Many restaurants, including Starbucks, McDonald's and KFC, are giving food benefits during the global pandemic.

Bass Pro Shops marketing manager David Smith (R) carries a box of donated face masks into Mercy Health in Chesterfield, Mo., on May 13. The company is donating 1 million FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure Face Masks to healthcare workers and first responders working on the front lines of the pandemic. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

March 31 (UPI) -- National restaurant chain Taco Bell expects to give away more than 1 million free tacos on Tuesday in a bid to promote safety amid the coronavirus crisis in the United States.

The company says it wants to give a free Doritos Locos Tacos to "everyone in America," as well as donate $1 million through its charitable arm to fight child hunger.

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The tacos will be given away at Taco Bell drive-through windows, the company said, and will last as long as the supplies hold out.

"In these tough times, Taco Bell wants its fans to know that we have their back," spokeswoman Polly Densien told UPI Tuesday. "The offer is available via drive-thru and carry-out only, so person-to-person contact will remain limited.

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"We are doing our part to provide safe meals that our fans know and love."

"For the past few weeks, we've been focused on making Taco Bell the safest place to work and eat and now we're giving America free tacos as a small way of saying thank you for how everyone is showing up for their communities," CEO Mark King wrote in an open letter.

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"We have strict safety policies and are working closely with our franchisees to put additional procedures in place to ensure social distancing is enabled in our working kitchens."

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Taco Bell has given away free tacos before, usually during major sporting events like the World Series and NBA Finals. Both sports are on hiatus right now due to the outbreak.

Taco Bell said it will also donate $1 million No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end child hunger in the United States, and solicit donations by allowing customers to round up their order total to the nearest dollar and send the proceeds to the charity.

King said Taco Bell also will convert taco trucks into mobile commissaries to deliver food to front-line workers, including healthcare providers, teachers and grocery store workers.

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Other U.S. franchises are making similar moves during the national emergency.

Burger King is giving away kids meals via its mobile app. Donut giant Krispy Kreme is giving donuts to healthcare workers every Monday through May 11. Starbucks is giving free coffee to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses and hospital staff for the next few weeks.

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A number of other restaurants are offering free and discounted items nationwide as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, including Subway, IHOP, Wendy's, McDonald's, Popeye's, Little Caesars, KFC, Denny's and Buffalo Wild Wings. Click here for a detailed list.

Most restaurants have closed their dining areas, so availability is limited to drive-through and delivery orders.

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