How BTS Caused Indonesia To Shut Down Some McDonald's Locations

Apparently, there is no greater power than the brand of BTS. Concerned about the spread of COVID-19, the Indonesian government felt compelled to temporarily close some McDonald's locations across the country on June 11, due to the amount of people attempting to purchase the BTS Meal.

The chaos went further than fears that the crowds would provide a natural conduit for the virus. Reuters reported on videos showing throngs of people who were desperate for the limited time meal causing chairs and tables to be upturned and a mass of delivery riders crowding within the restaurant, pretty much shoulder to shoulder. "We temporarily closed four of six McDonald's stores here in Semarang for a couple of days," Fajar Purwoto, the Indonesian city's public order agency head, said in a statement quoted by the New York Post. "I don't want Semarang to be in the COVID-19 red zone again."

This is an especially tense moment because, as Coconuts Jakarta wrote June 10, Indonesia has only just been able to start rolling out their vaccination process for the entire population. The widespread vaccination of the public is expected to occur towards the end of month, if not in early July. Swathes of people succumbing to the disease in the weeks leading up to inoculations would be terrible timing in the extreme.

The BTS Meal has been nothing short of a phenomenon

The threat BTS has posed to Indonesia's public health presents an extreme case of how extremely successful the BTS Meal has been for McDonald's. Last week, Business Insider reported that the meal brought in a surge of customers, dwarfing the number that came at any other point of the previous year by 12 percent.

The meal also marks the second time in one year that McDonald's has partnered with a celebrity to draw in a massive amount of attention. Previously, they collaborated in a similar manner with Travis Scott, though the broad popularity of BTS has outdone even that promotion, which ran out of ingredients for the meal. 

The phenomenon extends beyond purchasing the meal from McDonald's, though. Hypebeast reports that fans have been enshrining the McDonald's meals, while Cheat Sheet notes that less fanatic or sentimental customers have been selling the sauces and packaging for double their original price on eBay. In the face of this, Indonesia would not have stood a chance.