More and more restaurants and fast-casual chains are updating their face mask policies amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and Panera Bread and Noodles & Company are the latest to do so.
Both now require customers to wear face coverings at all times unless seated. They join other companies like Starbucks, Walmart and Kroger in the move, all of whom have enacted similar policies.
"Panera guests are asked to wear a mask inside our bakery-cafes nationwide," the Panera Bread website states. "To ensure the safety of our associates and guests, masks are required at all times, except while seated and eating or drinking."
"If any customer does not have or want to wear a mask for any reason, we will happily serve them via Panera Curbside, Delivery or Drive-Thru," the restaurant adds.
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Meanwhile, Noodles & Company's new policy went into effect on Wednesday, July 22.
"Effective Wednesday, July 22, all team members and guests who visit Noodles & Company will be required to wear a face covering inside all company-owned locations. In early March, Noodles implemented enhanced safety practices at all locations, including more frequent mandatory hand-washing, required use of hand sanitizer following each hand wash, and thoroughly disinfecting all surfaces every two hours. Additionally, Noodles will continue to make face masks available to all team members to ensure adherence to the enhanced safety procedures," their website reads.
The changes seem to come after the Centers for Disease Control implored Americans to begin wearing face masks last week.
"We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in a statement. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.”
Across the country, the number of cases have been on the rise. As of Thursday, more than 3,980,100 people in the U.S. have been infected and at least 143,100 have died, according to a New York Times database.
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