New U.S. COVID-19 Safety Precautions
By Joe Erlinger, President, McDonald's USA and Mark Salebra, National Franchise Leadership Alliance Chair
McDonald's USA -
From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve based decisions on our top priority: protecting the health and well-being of our and our franchisees’ employees and customers. In order to build on that commitment, we’re taking three important additional steps:
- Requiring customer face coverings in the restaurants
- Adding protective panels to front- and back-of-house
- Pausing dining room re-openings for an additional 30 days
Requiring Customer Face Coverings in the Restaurants
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. 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.
To that end, and in order to protect the safety of our employees and customers, we will ask all customers to wear face coverings when entering our US restaurants effective August 1. 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 intent of this policy is to take a proactive approach and focus on quickly finding solutions when customers are unable or unwilling to wear a face covering. In those situations where a customer declines to wear a face covering, we’ll put in place additional procedures to take care of them in a friendly, expedited way. Additionally, we will provide training for our restaurant staff to ensure they are prepared to address this new policy in a friendly and positive way. We also will re-share resources for our and our franchisees’ employees who want to revisit de-escalation training.
This new policy builds on the leading safety standards we have put in place including 50+ process and procedure changes to keep our restaurants safe.
We earn our customers’ trust by consistently executing our safety measures in the restaurants – and this includes the consistent and visible use of PPE. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of continuing to follow PPE procedures including proper mask use by crew.
Adding Protective Panels to Front- and Back-Of-House
Additionally, to ensure we’re best able to create even safer conditions for our employees and customers, we have developed a series of divider panels and retrofit barrier solutions for both front- and back-of-house. These conditions-based solutions are designed to safely allow owner/operators to increase order taking and seating capacity, as well as staffing levels, while continuing to meet social distancing guidelines. The panels are an additional safety measure and not a replacement for consistent PPE execution or adherence to social distancing guidelines.
Owner/operators should evaluate their restaurants’ individual needs to determine if there are conditions that require these panels in your restaurants. Please note that DIY solutions that meet the same quality standards and measurements are also acceptable. Additional details on the divider panels will be provided in next week’s Field Brief and available for order in waves based on DC.
Pausing Dining Room Re-Openings for An Additional 30 Days
Finally, to further our efforts to slow the surge in COVID-19 cases and protect restaurant teams and customers, we will extend our pause on re-opening dining rooms for another 30 days. This means we will not approve the re-opening of any additional dining rooms. Locally, any dining room roll back decisions should be guided by state and local guidance. This continues to be an owner/operator-led decision, but we ask that you consult with your Operations Officer and Franchise Business Partner.
For 65 years, protecting the safety and comfort of employees and customers has been core to who we are. The moment we’re in today provides another opportunity to set the standard and lead.
We remain impressed by the System’s resiliency throughout this crisis and we thank you for joining us in this effort to protect our people and the arches.