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Chipotle cooking up gift card plan to support hospital staffs

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Chipotle Mexican Grill is developing a gift card program to help customers show their appreciation for those on the frontline of the war with the coronavirus.

The restaurant chain on Thursday sent free burrito boxes to medical centers to celebrate National Burrito Day in honor of health-care heroes caring for COVID-19 patients. CEO Brian Niccol told CNBC's Jim Cramer that the company wants to bring patrons into the giving mix.

"People that purchase these gift cards will be able to give 10% of those proceeds, roughly, to health-care organizations that are supporting these individuals," he said in a "Mad Money" interview. "So that's in the works and I think that'll probably be the easiest way where all of us cant come together to continue to support the folks that really are just doing heroic things right now."

Niccol offered no other details of the proposal. The suggestion came on the same day that global cases of COVID-19 surpassed the on million mark. More than 242,000 have been diagnosed with the infection in the United States.

On top of a shortage of supplies including personal protective equipment, hospitals staff are dealing with an influx of coronavirus patients. Government officials have ordered social distancing measures and businesses to close during the pandemic to stop the spread of deadly virus with intentions to reduce pressure on overwhelmed 

Health officials have called for hospital systems to expand their bed counts and put elective surgeries on hold. Nurses are also now in short supply.

In New York, the epicenter of the epidemic in the U.S., Gov. Andrew Cuomo requested that health-care workers across the nation descend on the state to help in the fight against coronavirus. New York state has more than 92,500 cases as of Thursday evening, including more than 51,800 cases in New York City, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Outside of the hospitals, the restaurant industry is feeling pain from stay-at-home orders in multiple states, which has shifted consumer spending from eating out to eating in. Eateries have been allowed to continue delivery and take-out services, but the mandates have weighed on their bottom lines.

VIDEO8:5108:51Chipotle CEO talks sourcing, delivery, bonuses and supporting hospitals during COVIDMad Money with Jim Cramer

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