The new policy starts on August 1.

July 24, 2020

In only 15 days, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States jumped from three million to four million, and, in most parts of the country, the pandemic continues to spread at an alarming rate. As a result, McDonald's has announced that it will require face masks in all of its U.S. locations, starting next Saturday, August 1.

"This public health crisis continues, with one million new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks alone. At the same time, we’re learning more. 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 company said in a statement. "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."

McDonald's Requires Masks
Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images

McDonald's said that "nearly 82%" of its 14,000 restaurants are located in cities, states, or municipalities that already have mandatory mask requirements for public places, but it still believes that this is an important step to take.

And because 100% of those restaurants will undoubtedly have to deal with someone who throws a fit when asked to mask up before ordering their McNuggets, McDonald's said that it will be putting "additional procedures" in place. (According to CNN, maskless customers will be given one when they enter the restaurant. If they still refuse to wear it, they'll be moved to a "designated spot" away from other employees and customers, and their food will be brought to them when it's ready.)

"[W]e will provide training for our restaurant staff to ensure they are prepared to address this new policy in a friendly and positive way," McDonald's wrote. "We also will re-share resources for our and our franchisees’ employees who want to revisit de-escalation training."

In that same statement, McDonald's also announced that it would not be opening any additional dining rooms for another 30 days. On July 2, when there were 1.3 million fewer cases than there are right now, McDonald's U.S. President Joe Erlinger and Mark Salebra, the head of the National Franchisee Leadership Alliance, wrote a letter to owners and franchisees, advising them that the chain would be pausing its reopening plans for at least three weeks.