Starting Aug. 1, you won't be able to enter a McDonald's in the US without a face covering. Noting that 82% of its restaurants are in places under government pandemic mandates to wear a mask, the company said, "It's important we protect the safety of all employees and customers." McDonald's also said it will cease reopening its dining rooms for another month. It plans to use that time to add protective panels, USA Today reports, which it said are not intended as a substitute for social distancing or wearing personal protective equipment. The rule on face coverings could be a challenge for workers to negotiate. A recent union survey of 4,187 McDonald's employees found that 44% said they'd been verbally or physically assaulted when dealing with customers not wearing masks, per Business Insider.
McDonald's plans training to help employees address violations "in a friendly and positive way." For diners who won't follow the rule, the statement said, "we’ll put in place additional procedures to take care of them in a friendly, expedited way." Customers have turned violent during the pandemic, and not just in the dining room. An employee in Oakland was grabbed and struck at a drive-thru window by someone opposed to masks. Another in Illinois who witnessed a co-worker attacked in a mask dispute said: "Throughout the pandemic, McDonald's has failed to protect us from COVID-19. Now it's asking us to police a culture war that's not in our job description and that we're not paid to do." The company said that the survey and comments represent a fraction of its 800,000 US employees and that it's "focused on keeping crew and managers" safe. (The chain's reopening guide is extensive.)