A host of national retailers and restaurant chains are reinstating indoor mask mandates for employees, regardless of their vaccination status, amid a nationwide surge in COVID-19 infections spurred by the delta variant.
Starbucks Corp., McDonald’s Corp. and Home Depot Inc. are just three of the high-profile enterprises that announced plans Monday to resurrect mask requirements for workers, although McDonald’s - along with Target - will only enforce the measure in counties deemed at high risk for COVID-19 transmission by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Home Depot will require all associates, contractors and vendors to wear masks while indoors at all U.S. Home Depot stores, distribution centers and offices, as well as in customers’ homes and businesses, MLive.com reported.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our number one concern has been for the health and safety of our customers and associates,” the company said in a statement released Monday.
The home-improvement chain is also asking - but not requiring - that customers wear masks inside stores and will continue to offer masks to anyone without one, the outlet reported.
Starbucks will likewise require employees in its roughly 8,900 company-operated U.S. locations to wear masks beginning Thursday, is recommending patrons follow suit and will require patrons to comply in areas where local officials have already issued mandates, the Journal reported.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s updated policy applies to both company-owned and franchisee-owned restaurants, the newspaper reported.
The shifts are in response to updated CDC recommendations issued Friday urging vaccinated people in some indoor spaces to resume wearing masks because research indicates that vaccinated people may be spreading the highly-transmissible delta variant.
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