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McDonald's to Roll Out These New Safety Measures at All Locations

Starting next month, don't expect to enter any McDonald's without a face mask.

The world's most famous restaurant chain just announced that it will be the latest high-profile U.S. business to require all customers to wear face masks in its stores. The new safety measure, announced on July 24, will officially go into effect on August 1. It will apply to all 14,000-plus American locations.

In the same announcement, McDonald's USA President Joe Erlinger and National Franchise Leadership Alliance Chair Mark Salebra unveiled two additional safety measures that the restaurant chain will be rolling out to stores. McDonald's will be introducing new "protective panels to front-and back-of-house [sic]," and it will be pausing re-openings "for an additional 30 days."

"We will not approve the re-opening of any additional dining rooms," the company explained. "Locally, any dining room roll back decisions should be guided by state and local guidance. This continues to be an owner/operator-led decision, but we ask that you consult with your Operations Officer and Franchise Business Partner."

In the case of the new panels, McDonald's explained that these are a proprietary series of "divider panels" that were designed explicitly for the purposes of maximizing dining-room seating capacities, allowing for more employees in stores, and ultimately generating more sales while still adhering to its social-distancing guidelines.

"Owner/operators should evaluate their restaurants' individual needs to determine if there are conditions that require these panels in your restaurants," the McDonald's reps elaborated. "Please note that DIY solutions that meet the same quality standards and measurements are also acceptable."

The biggest news, of course, was the company's decision to require that all customers wear face masks. However, it's important to note that McDonald's will not be turning away any customers that don't adhere to this rule.

If you're not wearing a mask and wish to enter a McDonald's, an employee will offer you a mask from a supply that the store will have on-hand. If you refuse one of those, you'll be directed to "a designated pick-up spot a safe distance from other customers" where you'll get your order. (The company has not elaborated on where the "designated pick-up spot" will be located.)

To explain its new face-mask requirement, the McDonald's announcement referenced the CDC's basic guidelines.

"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," said the McDonald's reps. "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." And for some excellent dining-out advice you can use right now, be sure to read the 6 Things Restaurants Do That Increase Your Coronavirus Risk.

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