BRIAN QUINN/DAILY NEWS McDonald’s says starting Aug. 1, it will ask anyone entering its U.S. restaurants to wear a face covering.

McDonald’s announced Friday that as of Aug. 1, it will require all customers to wear face coverings when entering its U.S. restaurants, saying its top priority is protecting the health and well-being of its franchisees’ employees and customers.

There are other steps McDonald’s is taking:

• adding protective panels to front- and back of house

• pausing dining room reopenings for an additional 30 days

“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,” McDonald’s said in a press release. “As a result, the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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 Aug. 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 retailer said. “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.”

Additionally, to ensure we’re best able to create even safer conditions for employees and customers, McDonald’s has 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.

To further McDonald’s efforts to slow the surge in COVID-19 cases and protect restaurant teams and customers, the retailer will extend its pause on reopening dining rooms for another 30 days.

“This means we will not approve the reopening of any additional dining rooms. Locally, any dining room roll back decisions should be guided by state and local guidance,” it said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1