- On Friday, McDonald’s became the latest retailer to announce it would require customers to wear masks in-store.
- The mask mandate will go into effect on August 1, and masks will be provided to customers who don’t have one.
- A letter on the company’s site references “the latest science” and guidance from the CDC as factors in instituting the mask policy and also addresses the challenge of dealing with non-compliant customers.
- A recent survey of 4,187 McDonald’s workers found that 44% of McDonald’s workers have been verbally or physically assaulted by a customer for asking them to wear a mask.
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McDonald’s customers will be required to wear masks in restaurants starting August 1, McDonald’s USA president Joe Erlinger and National Franchise Leadership Alliance chair Mark Salebra announced in a joint letter on Friday.
As coronavirus cases continue to skyrocket, the fast-food chain has also decided to pause its dining room reopenings and install new protective panels. Customers who enter a McDonald’s without a mask will be offered a mask upon entry.
“The latest science suggests droplets have the potential to stay in the air for extended periods of time, increasing the risk of virus spread, especially from asymptomatic carriers,” the letter reads. “As a result, the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reiterates face coverings are an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
The letter also addresses the challenge of dealing with customers that refuse to wear a mask. A recent Service Employees International Union survey of 4,187 McDonald’s workers found that 44% of McDonald’s workers had been verbally or physically assaulted by a customer after confronting them over wearing a mask. While the SEIU only surveyed a small proportion of the chain’s more than 800,000 workers in the US, the 44% of respondents alone represent more than 1,800 employees who say they have been assaulted on the job.
The letter states that the new mask mandate is intended to give employees a safe protocol to follow in the case of a non-compliant customer.
“We will provide training for our restaurant staff to ensure they are prepared to address this new policy in a friendly and positive way,” the letter reads, adding that workers can review previously-distributed resources on de-escalation.
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While the new policy doesn’t provide specific steps for de-escalation, it does put McDonald’s on much sturdier legal ground should a customer decide to sue for being denied service for not wearing a mask.
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