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McDonald's mandates face masks at U.S. restaurants to curb COVID-19

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Corporate efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus now includes the country's biggest burger chain, with McDonald's on Friday announcing it would require customers to wear face masks inside all of its more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants.

Noting that the country has recorded 1 million new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks alone, McDonald's said in a news release it "will ask all customers to wear face coverings when entering our U.S. restaurants effective August 1."

Nearly 82% of McDonald's eateries are in states or localities that currently require masks for workers and patrons alike, but "it's important we protect the safety of all employees and customers," according to the statement by McDonald's USA President Joe Erlinger and National Franchise Leadership Alliance Chair Mark Salebra.

Many Americans continue to resist wearing masks despite the scientific consensus that the practice saves lives, a reality acknowledged by a slew of retailers as well as McDonald's.

"We will provide training for our restaurant staff to ensure they are prepared to address this new policy in a friendly and positive way," the executives stated. "We also will re-share resources for our and our franchisees' employees who want to revisit de-escalation training."

Should a consumer walk into a McDonald's without a mask they'll be offered one, and those who decline will be directed to a designated pick-up spot to wait for their order a safe distance from others.

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McDonald's will again delay reopening its dining rooms for another 30 days, continuing a three-week pause of earlier reopening plans that was enacted by Erlinger and Salebra at the end of June.

The halt in McDonald's dine-in rollout came after the restaurant chain reintroduced the service in May, about two months after the company closed its seated dining areas to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

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