'Proactive approach:' Customers must wear masks at McDonald's restaurants starting Aug. 1

MILWAUKEE -- McDonald’s said it will require customers to wear face coverings at its more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases. The mandate will go into effect Aug. 1.

The fast food giant is the latest business to announce a mask mandate for customers in order to help stop the spread of the virus. Kroger, Walmart and Publix are among other major retailers with similar requirements.

“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,” McDonald’s said Friday in a statement.

McDonald’s said it will train restaurant staff to ensure they are prepared to address the new policy “in a friendly and positive way.”

If a customer enters a restaurant without a mask, McDonald’s said it would offer them one. If the customer declines, workers will expedite their order and guide them to a designated pick-up area at a safe distance from other 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,” the statement reads.

McDonald's announced earlier this month it was halting reopening plans, including the reintroduction of dine-in service, due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

As of July 24, there have been more than 4 million confirmed cases in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.