Chipotle Mexican Grill has joined a growing list of high-profile restaurant chains such as Panera Bread and McDonald’s that are requiring guests to wear masks when they enter the store.
The mask mandate for customers went into effect Friday. Like at other chains, employees have been wearing masks for weeks.
“The health and safety of our employees and guests is our top priority. Chipotle has supplied non-medical masks for all employees to wear as part of their uniform and proactively made the decision to require guests to wear masks in all restaurants,” Laurie Schalow, the chain’s chief corporate affairs and food safety officer, said in a statement sent to Nation’s Restaurant News on Monday.
The Newport Beach, Calif.-based chain said about 85% of its dining rooms are open. During a conference call to discuss the brand’s earnings last week, company leaders did not mention the new safety requirement.
On Monday, Chipotle said the chain will notify customers of the policy with signage on the doors. Customers using the brand’s 100 Chipotlanes, drive-thru lanes used for pickup of mobile orders, will not be required to wear masks.
On Friday, McDonald’s said it will ask all customers to wear face coverings when entering restaurants in the U.S. effective Aug. 1. Starbucks, Walmart, Kroger, Panera Bread and Noodles & Company have also formally announced mask mandates for customers.
“While nearly 82% of our restaurants are in states or localities that require facial coverings for both crew and customers today, it’s important we protect the safety of all employees and customers,” the Chicago-based burger chain said last week.
With the continued rise in coronavirus cases across country, McDonald’s has also extended its pause of reopening dining rooms for an additional 30 days.
In mid-July, the Centers for Disease Control took a stronger position on wearing face masks.
“We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in a statement. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
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