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Wheelchair user criticises Ipswich McDonald’s after being told she couldn’t eat in

PUBLISHED: 11:29 19 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:33 19 August 2020

Gemma Patrick was left shocked after being turned away from eating in at Mcdonald's, due to no disabled seating area.  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Gemma Patrick was left shocked after being turned away from eating in at Mcdonald's, due to no disabled seating area. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

A mum has criticised McDonald’s after she was told she couldn’t eat in at an Ipswich branch because she was in a wheelchair.

Gemma has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type three and relies on crutches to get around her home and a wheelchair when she leaves the house as it is too painful to walk. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDGemma has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type three and relies on crutches to get around her home and a wheelchair when she leaves the house as it is too painful to walk. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Gemma Patrick has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type three and uses a wheelchair on trips out of her house in Stoke Park Drive, as she is in too much pain to walk.

The 29-year-old turned up at the Tavern Street restaurant on Sunday, August 16, with her fiancé Alan and their two young children, Esther and Ava.

She was shocked when a member of staff stopped them at the door to ask if they were eating in and then told them it wouldn’t be possible with Gemma in her wheelchair.

“We wanted to take my daughter for a Happy Meal as being a little kid she loves them,” she explained. “The member of staff said unfortunately due to government guidelines we could only be seated upstairs which obviously wasn’t possible.

“It was so frustrating that McDonald’s refused to make reasonable adjustments for me when there was loads of space downstairs where we could have sat in a corner.”

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While Gemma was told they could be served at the takeaway counter, she decided to go somewhere else for a sit down meal and went to The Cricketers, where Wetherspoons staff were happy to accommodate them by making some minor adjustments.

She added: “Usually I have found people are really helpful but since Covid all of that has gone out of the window and businesses seem to have forgotten an entire customer base in their haste to reopen.

“They’re relying on government advice as an excuse – it seems like it’s too much hard work and people can’t be bothered.”

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said: “We are very sorry to hear that the customer in question was unable to dine-in at our Ipswich Tavern restaurant, and fully understand their frustrations.

“It is incredibly important to us as a business that we are accessible to all, and it is unfortunate that social distancing measures have made the dine in area inaccessible at this time.

“As we continue to adapt and introduce new measures to keep our people and customers safe, we are encountering new and unforeseen challenges.

“It is important we adapt to these where possible, so we will be working with the restaurant to see if there is a possible solution.”


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