Before the pandemic caused shutdowns nationwide, maskless customers would crowd into McDonald’s restaurants to order or eat inside.
Prior to the nationwide shutdowns in March, you’d be unlikely to find a McDonald’s employee or customer wearing a mask…just like you would nearly anywhere else.
Thought it wasn’t until August 1 that the chain officially began requiring masks and face coverings for customers at all US restaurants, according to USA Today, mask-wearing was commonplace for employees and customers months before it was formally mandated.
Masks have become a mainstay for McDonald’s employees and customers ordering and eating inside restaurants.
At the start of the pandemic, many fast-food chains, including McDonald’s, immediately began requiring employees to follow health and safety guidelines like mask-wearing and encouraging physical distancing between crew members and customers when possible.
Experts also believe that it may be a while before you can go into a McDonald’s mask-free.
“It’s going to be really hard for people to tell apart who has been vaccinated, who hasn’t, and who just isn’t wearing a mask because they don’t want to,” Shan Soe-Lin, Ph.D., a lecturer in global affairs at Yale University and epidemiologist told Today. “I would say that until the vaccine is widely available and case counts drop as you would expect with high vaccination coverage, we’ll be wearing masks.”
Both dining-in and going through the drive-thru were options before the pandemic.
At the start of the pandemic in mid-March, McDonald’s closed the dining rooms of all its company-owned US locations, and urged franchisees to do the same.
According to CNBC, as of July 1, just 15% of the chain’s 14,000 locations had reopened for dine-in service. More have opened since, but many have not — choosing instead to focus on drive-thru and mobile ordering just as they did earlier in the pandemic.
Many McDonald’s restaurants have yet to open for indoor dining.
States that allow for indoor and outdoor dining have been able to adjust accordingly with the use of required face masks increased sanitation practices. However, dining rooms are becoming increasingly less important to fast-food executives to bring in sales.
According to a previous article by Fintech Zoom, some chain restaurants, most of which do not have drive-thru models, have permanently closed over 1,500 locations so far as a result of the pandemic.