McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and Dunkin’ are deploying masks to thousands of restaurant workers across the U.S. as the brands step up their coronavirus safety procedures, especially protocols at the drive-thru.
Chicago-based McDonald’s said it plans to distribute more than 100 million non-medical grade masks to the company’s nearly 14,000 restaurants across the U.S.
Masks will first be distributed “to areas where the use of masks is required by law, to hotspots with a high level of confirmed cases in the community, and then to the rest of the country,” the company said in a statement sent to Nation’s Restaurant News over the weekend.
Late Friday, McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger announced in a tweet that the company’s supply chain had sourced more than 100 million masks. Some restaurant workers were already wearing homemade masks.
The company said its supply chain team has been “working tirelessly to secure critical supplies” amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This new shipment will help McDonald’s restaurant crews continue to safely serve our communities and those on the frontlines of this crisis: healthcare workers, first responders, medical suppliers, truck drivers, grocery store staff and pharmacy employees,” the company said.
Chick-fil-A has also started distributing “face masks or other face coverings” to workers in accordance with federal health recommendations. On Monday, Dunkin’ said it is “requiring restaurant employees to wear single-use gloves, regardless of the task, and non-medical masks” as part of new safety procedures.
Chick-fil-A also said customers will be asked to swipe their own credit cards “to limit person-to-person contact,” the company said.
Chick-fil-A, which is encouraging customers to use the brand’s app for contactless ordering, said PIN options will not be offered on credit card transactions. The chain will no longer require customers to sign receipts, either.
Photo: Chick-fil-A recently installed handwashing stations outside restaurants so employees taking orders at the drive-thru can wash hands more frequently.
The Atlanta-based quick-service chain, like other restaurant companies, has been continuously evolving its safety measures in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this month, the chain began installing portable handwashing stations outside so drive-thru workers can wash their hands more frequently.
On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control suggested that consumers can wear a protective face covering when visiting public spaces where social distancing can be difficult, like a grocery store.
A week later, the FDA released a “best practices” checklist for restaurants and grocery workers. The agency said employers can reduce transmission of the virus among employees by providing them with masks and taking temperatures.
Last week, Taco Bell and KFC, whose parent company is Yum Brands, announced plans to take employee temperatures before the start of shifts. The chains are also supplying employees with masks.
The stepped-up safety efforts come as thousands of restaurants across the U.S. have been closed for dine in service for more than a month to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Restaurants that remain open are only allowed to take orders for takeout, curbside pickup, delivery or drive-thru.
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