Chick-fil-A has announced it will be postponing its annual Cow Appreciation Day events nationwide due to safety concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The event, which allows customers to score free chicken sandwiches and nuggets in exchange for dressing up like cows, has been held every year since 2005.
"Cow Appreciation Day has been a valued tradition for Chick-fil-A since 2005, and it gives us the opportunity to thank our guests for their support of our brand," the company said in a statement emailed to TODAY Food. "For the time being, we have decided to postpone the annual holiday in honor of our beloved bovines."
The company added that fans may visit the chain's website for any information about when the event may be rescheduled.
This isn't the first big adjustment that the chicken chain has made since the COVID-19 outbreak. After closing down dining rooms for several weeks, locations reopened with new rules including contactless food delivery in drive-thrus and axing free soda refills.
Last year, Cow Appreciation Day was held on July 9, and Chick-fil-A celebrated by giving away free entrees (excluding salads) to customers dressed like cows from store opening until 7 p.m. local time. The company also shared the festivities on Instagram, showcasing fans young and old getting into the moo-d.
There was even a cute carload of dogs in cow costumes.
Chick-fil-A said that almost 2 million cow-dressed customers participated in the event in 2018.
The decision to postpone this year's Cow Appreciation Day is in line with the company's Safe Service policy, which adheres to strict social distancing rules and encourages contactless transactions to limit person-to-person contact.
In lieu of in-store festivities and free food giveaways, Chick-fil-A is encouraging fans to visit its Pinterest page for family activities to do "with your herd."
Of course, Chick-fil-A isn't the only food establishment that's had to cancel special promotions due to the pandemic.
In March, Ben & Jerry's announced that for the first time ever, it would be canceling the scoop shop's popular Free Cone Day which usually takes place in April. 7-Eleven has canceled its in-store birthday celebration (July 11) where customers can get free Slurpees. However, the convenience store chain did provide Slurpee coupons that customers enrolled in its loyalty program may use through the month of July.
Even the State Fair of Texas, which has been held annually since 1886, was not immune. Last week, it was announced that the event, which normally welcomes 2.5 million guests in the summer, will be cancelled due to COVID-19 for the first time since World War II.
The James Beard Foundation Awards, one of the culinary industry's most prestigious events, is usually held in the spring, but has since been postponed to September.