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McDonald's Will Require Customers To Wear Face Coverings Starting August 1

With major retailers like Walmart, CVS, Costco, Lowe's, Target, Best Buy and many more adopting policies requiring customers to face masks inside their locations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the next frontier appears to be restaurants and fast food.

Starbucks and Panera Bread have both announced nationwide mask policies for their guests, and now the biggest of them all is joining in.

McDonald's has announced that guests walking into any of its 14,000+ U.S. locations will be required to wear a mask or face covering.

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The house that Ronald built made the announcement in a company letter, stating that the new policy will go into effect across the nation starting August 1.

However, it's not exactly a new policy for the vast majority of McDonald's locations, as 82% of its restaurants are in states that already mandate masks for both staff and customers.

McDonald's is well aware that many of its customers might resist wearing masks.

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The company has emphasized alternatives to coming into the restaurants during the pandemic, encouraging customers to use "McDelivery" through apps like DoorDash or Uber Eats, or using mobile ordering and curbside pickups.

Those who show up without a mask will be offered one, a McDonald's representative told NPR. Those refusing the mask will be asked to move to a spot further away from other customers while waiting for their order.

Nevertheless, the company is concerned with staff safety with good reason.

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There have been some serious confrontations between customers and staff, including one case in Oakland in which a staff member was physically assaulted by a customer in drive-thru. After 19-year-old Maria Resendiz asked the customer to wear a mask, the customer hurled racial slurs at her and then assaulted her badly enough to require treatment at a hospital.

The McDonald's letter stated that staff will receive extra de-escalation training ahead of August 1 "to ensure they are prepared to address this new policy in a friendly and positive way."

The mask requirement isn't the only way McDonald's will look a bit different to help reduce the virus's spread, either.

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The restaurants will also feature more protective divider panels both at the front-of-house and in the back. "The panels are an additional safety measure and not a replacement for consistent PPE execution or adherence to social distancing guidelines," the company stressed.

Dining-in at McDonald's will also remain off the menu, as the company announced it would postpone re-opening its dining rooms for at least another 30 days.

h/t: NPR