McDonald’s and Chipotle Mexican Grill have become the latest big businesses to order that customers wear face masks inside their US restaurants.
The fast-food giants both announced their revised rules on Friday as COVID-19 cases continue to soar across much of the country.
Chipotle says its mask-wearing mandate is effectively immediately, while McDonald’s is asking customers to cover their faces from August 1.
In a statement, McDonald’s says the requirement is consistent ‘with our top priority: protecting the health and well-being of our and our franchisees, employees and customers’.
The company – which has continued to operate during the pandemic by offering take-out and drive-thru – also announced that it was also holding off on reopening additional dining rooms for another 30 days.
The news from McDonald’s and Chipotle come on the heels of announcements from other large retailers who are also mandating that customers wear face masks in their stores.
Target and Starbucks have recently released statements saying customers must don face coverings.
Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walgreens have also made similar announcements, however they appeared to have softened their stance in recent days.
In the hopes of avoiding confrontations between angry customers and employees, the companies now appear to promote mask-wearing as a suggestion, rather than a legally enforceable instruction.
Having employees take on the role of the ‘mask police’ puts them in an uncomfortable position and comes at a time when many retailers are financially unable to refuse business.
CVS, for instance, has asked for its customers to ‘cooperate’ with the mask-on policy.
‘In the event of non-compliance, for safety reasons, we have asked our employees to avoid escalated confrontations with non-compliant customers, and to instead help them complete their purchases as quickly as possible while providing information about other options we have available for their future needs, including free home delivery for prescriptions and our drive-thru window service,’ a company rep said to DailyMail.com.
There have been numerous viral videos of shoppers screaming and threatening store employees after being asked to put on face masks.
Critics claim that being ordered to cover their faces is a violation of their liberties.
Some incidents have even turned violent.
In May, a security guard working at a Family Dollar store in Michigan was shot and killed after he told a customer to wear a mask.
However, some states, including Texas, have now mandated that masks must be worn inside all indoor retailers and restaurants.
Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state-wide mask mandate in early July after earlier resisting the move.
He said face masks were supported by 85 percent of voters in his state.
‘We do not want to shut down again,’ Abbott said on CNBC. ‘The only way we can go about this process of not shutting down is to embrace this prospect of wearing face masks.’
It comes as the U.S. recorded more than 70,000 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday.
Upwards of 4.08 million Americans have now tested positive to the virus, and nearly 145,000 people have died.