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McDonald's and Starbucks Just Made This Major Policy Change

Here's what customers need to know.

If a change in rules at two of the country's biggest fast-food chains is any indicator of what's to come, it seems that the carefree days of not wearing face masks indoors are coming to a close. Last week, McDonald's and Starbucks announced another major shift in mask-wearing policies, and here's what customers can expect when visiting their locations.

McDonald's eased its mask mandates back in May, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that vaccinated Americans no longer have to wear face coverings indoors. But the change was short-lived. The burger chain confirmed last week they'll be requiring both staff and guests to mask up again at most of its U.S. restaurants, according to Reuters. The rule will be implemented in areas of high or substantial transmission, regardless of whether customers are vaccinated or not. CBS News reports that this includes almost 80% of all U.S. counties.

RELATED: Delta Variant as Contagious as Chickenpox, Says CDC

Starbucks is following suit and changed the guidelines on its website last week. The chain had similarly done away with face-mask requirements in May but is now issuing a "strong" recommendation for masks to be used at all of their locations.

"Starbucks remains committed to meeting or exceeding all public health mandates, as it is our responsibility to protect our partners and customers in the communities we serve. In alignment with the updated guidance from the CDC, Starbucks strongly recommends customers wear facial coverings while visiting our stores, regardless of vaccination status," the announcement reads. "Where mandated by local law or regulation, Starbucks will require customers wear masks while in our stores. Additionally, starting August 5 all company-operated store partners are required, regardless of vaccination status, to wear facial coverings while on shift."

The two chains are leading the way in renewed protective measures against COVID-19 and its highly contagious Delta variant, and other national fast-food brands and businesses are likely to follow. As of now, major grocers like Walmart and Publix are also among them.

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Mura Dominko
Mura is a Deputy Editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more