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Fast food has been the first thing on the menu for many Kiwis under level 3, as queues of more than 20 cars have been spotted at McDonald's restaurants around New Zealand.

Dozens of fast-food outlets are due to reopen for contact-less drive-thru and delivery this morning.

At Auckland's Grey Lynn McDonald's, cars are queuing right on to Great North Rd to get their first taste of Maccas in almost five weeks.

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The queue at McDonald's Manukau extended into the Westfield carpark. Photo / Will Trafford
The queue at McDonald's Manukau extended into the Westfield carpark. Photo / Will Trafford

And it's a similar story across town at Auckland's Greenlane, where a queue of dozens of cars is snaking across the carpark.

About 20 cars have also been seen queuing at the McDonald's at Māngere town centre and Porirua town centre.

At Māngere, many of the customers spoken to by the Herald have swung past the takeaway joint on their way to work - but some have got up early just for the occasion.

Essential workers at CourierPost's sorting centre at East Tamaki came to McDonald's when their shift finished at 4am. Photo / Will Trafford
Essential workers at CourierPost's sorting centre at East Tamaki came to McDonald's when their shift finished at 4am. Photo / Will Trafford

Lena Tiumalu, 18, is going for a double quarter pounder combo.

She's been waiting in the queue at Māngere since she finished her work shift at 3am. She's been missing McDonald's while it's been shut for level 4.

It won't be any normal drive-thru experience this morning, with fast-food chains introducing extra hygiene practices, and installing physical barriers to maintain social distancing.

Customers are encouraged to use paywave and workers are wearing gloves to reduce contact during the drive-thru process. Photo / Michael Craig
Customers are encouraged to use paywave and workers are wearing gloves to reduce contact during the drive-thru process. Photo / Michael Craig

Tai Perez and three mates arrived at McDonald's in Māngere at 4am and were near the front of the queue. The line quickly grew behind them.

"We just wanted a munch, aye - so we broke the bubble and went to eat," the 19-year-old said.

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The group spent $100 between them. "We got quarter pounders, Big Macs, drinks ... I've still got two cheeseburgers left but I can't finish them."

They turned up extra early because "the boys were just hyping it up - we were looking at all the times they opened and this was the nearest one".

Perez is starting back at work in Manurewa today.

Vincent White, Tai Perez, Ioane Toilolo, and Mark Leleifi were third in the queue and spent $100 on their favourite takeaway at McDonald's Mangere this morning. Photo / Michael Craig
Vincent White, Tai Perez, Ioane Toilolo, and Mark Leleifi were third in the queue and spent $100 on their favourite takeaway at McDonald's Mangere this morning. Photo / Michael Craig
McDonalds St James, in Hamilton, was fairly quiet at 8am today. Photo / Haylee Turner
McDonalds St James, in Hamilton, was fairly quiet at 8am today. Photo / Haylee Turner

He's planning to get KFC on his break.

A Baker's Delight, worker Vik Sach, who said he was "just stopping for a coffee as nothing else is open", was shocked by the queues and the lack of social distancing.

"There's a lot of groups in the car park and not much social distancing. It's actually concerning, but I hope everything will be okay."

Meanwhile, Aucklanders in the North Shore weren't lining up - and McDonald's Wairau Park was quiet.

Occasionally cars would head through the drive-thru but no queuing was required.

The store opened at 5.30am.

It wasn't empty however, as people were queuing past the service windows after ordering.

There were cheers from punters at McDonald's off Akoranga Dr near Northcote on the North Shore when it opened at 6am.

Queues stretched at least 15 cars throughout the car park beside the store but the line had dwindled since, and by 6.30am there was no one in the queue.

Staff had been deployed to the entrances of the car park to keep order and manage any queues of cars.

One worker told the Herald there were "cheers and whoops" once the drive-thru finally opened.

"People were queuing here from quite early," the worker said.

"It was quite cool to see so many people - the line went around the car park. It's gone now but the boss expects another rush at 7am."

Meanwhile, the North Shore was starting to sound like a city again, with trucks, cars, vans and buses on the move. Many were headed to the Northern Motorway from Wairau Rd and nearby Northcote Rd.

There was a constant stream of cars heading along Wairau Rd, many of them tradies. There were also plenty of buses getting to work.

McDonald's, Domino's, Subway, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC and Carl's Jr are all planning to reopen under level 3.

McDonald's will open its Drive-Thru and McDelivery with a limited menu at 137 of its 169 restaurants from Tuesday.

Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, cheeseburgers and Happy Meals will be available for those hankering for something other than their own cooking. But shakes, sundaes, McFlurries, frozen coke and McDonald's Gourmet Creations such as the Angus burger and bagels are off the menu for now.

"We're minimising contact and maximising distance, that's why our Drive-Thru and McDelivery services will be the safest way to get your Macca's," the website said.

McDonald's has put in other measures such a making sure staff wear gloves, observe safe distance markings and reduce the number of staff on shifts to allow for more space between people in an attempt to keep both staff and customers safe.

"Ensuring the safety of our crew, customers and community remains our priority. It may look a little different but it's still the Macca's you know and love," the website said.

Customers are also encouraged to use payWave if they can to ensure a contactless experience.