McDonald's Makes Surprising Announcement About Its Mask Policy

You can expect a change in protocol the next time you pop over to your local McDonald's. Like everyone else, fast food restaurants have had to make adjustments due to COVID-19, from eliminating self-service options to closing low-volume locations. On Thursday, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski talked with CBS This Morning about a surprising change to their mask policy. While McDonald's has been requiring their crew to wear masks for "quite some time," the company has now announced all customers must wear masks in the restaurant as well, starting August 1, and if a situation arises where someone isn't following this mandate and the situation escalates, store employees may call the police.

Kempczinski says "the vast majority" of customers have been "more than willing" to comply so far but emphasized that McDonald's employees have undergone training on how to explain the requirement to customers. According to USA Today, McDonald's USA president, Joe Erlinger, and National Franchise Leadership Alliance chair, Mark Salebra, said McDonald's will train staff so they are prepared to address the new mask policy "in a friendly and positive way." 

Also, Kempczinski said the training included "de-escalation" for customers who are unwilling to comply with the new mask requirement — which includes the possibility of calling the police if someone refuses to wear a mask. He added, "Ultimately, we're not going to be asking our crew people to put themselves in harm's way. If someone is unwilling to wear a mask and comply with our rules, that might be where we might bring in law enforcement."

Masks have been a source of conflict at McDonald's

Unfortunately, conflict over mask requirements has put McDonald's employees in harm's way. A survey of 4,187 McDonald's employees conducted by Service Employees International Union revealed that 44 percent of respondents (more than 1,800 employees) said they had been verbally or physically assaulted after confronting customers who weren't wearing masks (via Business Insider). According to MSN, a 19-year-old McDonald's employee named Maria Resendiz was physically assaulted and verbally threatened by a customer in the drive-thru when she asked him to wear a mask, as instructed by her manager and as required by the local government. Resendiz called the police and was taken to the hospital. She was quoted as saying, "Security is all we need. ... All we want is to feel safe." 

The Source notes McDonald's new mask policy states that customers will be denied service if they are not wearing a mask, but masks will be provided as supplies last. If the customer declines to wear one, the store will "expedite the order and guide them to a designated pick-up spot a safe distance from other customers."