Updated: Sep 9, 2020
On Friday, July 14, McDonald’s announced that it would soon be mandatory for all customers to wear masks at its U.S. restaurants. The new mask policy will take effect on August 1 at the company’s more than 14,000 stores country-wide. The move comes amid the latest spike in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with a million new cases in just over 15 days, NPR reported.
In its press release, the company clarified that a lot of its restaurants are already in areas where face masks are mandatory, but the move is to “protect the safety of all employees and customers.” The chain has also said that because mask-wearing has caused some divisions in stores in the past few weeks, the company will make “de-escalation training” available to all employees.
The Company Outlined Different Measures It Will Take for Customers That Don’t Want to Wear a Mask
The company’s press release adds that the goal is to find quick and effective solutions when faced with a customer who doesn’t wish to wear a mask. The company states, “In those situations where a customer declines to wear a face covering, we’ll put in place additional procedures to take care of them in a friendly, expedited way.”
Employees will also be given training on de-escalation and to make sure every store’s team can handle mask-related complaints in a “friendly and positive way.”
In an emailed statement to NPR, a company spokesperson said that anyone who arrives at a McDonald’s location without a mask will first be offered one. Anyone who refuses to wear a mask will be asked to wait in a “designated pick-up spot a safe distance from other customers.”
Additional measures were announced in the same press release, namely the addition of protective panels at the front and back of the restaurant. The fast-food giant explains, “These conditions-based solutions are designed to safely allow owner/operators to increase order taking and seating capacity, as well as staffing levels, while continuing to meet social distancing guidelines. The panels are an additional safety measure and not a replacement for consistent PPE execution or adherence to social distancing guidelines.”
The company has also extended its pause on re-opening dining rooms for another 30 days, so no new dining rooms will be approved to re-open.
McDonald’s Is Following Other Major Companies That Have Recently Made Mask-Wearing Mandatory
McDonald’s is the latest major chain that’s decided to make mask-wearing mandatory for all its customers. On July 15, Walmart announced that in-store mask-wearing is now mandatory at all its locations, prompting many other companies like Target and Walgreens to make the same move. Other stores, like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, first made masks mandatory in early July but rolled it back recently and are now only requiring masks if the state mandates it, The New York Times reported.
Costco was one of the first major outlets to require mask-wearing, with its policy taking effect on May 4. Home Depot has made masks mandatory for shoppers as of July 22, along with Kroger and J.C. Penney, to name a few.
The U.S. recently surpassed 4 million known cases of COVID-19, with 4,091,062 cases and 145,063 deaths reported by John Hopkins University as of July 24 at 4:34 p.m.