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Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut are making workers wear masks

Yum Brands chains will also take workers’ temperatures and have them wear gloves as part of the company’s evolving response to the coronavirus.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and The Habit Burger Grill have started requiring workers to wear masks both in the U.S. and internationally, as part of a series of new safety measures designed to keep workers and customers safe from the spread of the coronavirus.

Yum Brands, the chains’ Louisville, Ky.-based parent company, said this week that all four brands will require workers to wear non-surgical grade masks in the U.S. and internationally, “where facial coverings are recommended by local health authorities.”

Workers will be allowed to wear their own cloth face coverings while Yum Brands works to purchase enough masks to supply its system.

Workers at all of the chains will start wearing single-use disposable gloves during their shifts after they’ve washed and sanitized their hands.

The efforts intensify the company’s previous strategies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus announced late last month. The chains are focused on “low-contact” services through the drive-thru and carryout. Yum said it is working to “refine our practices” based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as “shifting consumer expectations.”

The chains are making thermometers available and checking workers’ temperatures over the coming weeks.

Some U.S. KFC and Pizza Hut locations, meanwhile, plan to install counter shields between workers and customers.

“After closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19, we’re expanding our global health and safety measures following guidance from public health authorities worldwide,” the company said in a statement.

Numerous brands, including McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and Starbucks, have shifted their views on face masks following new guidelines from the CDC earlier this week recommending that Americans wear face masks while out in public.

At the same time, workers themselves have been putting pressure on fast-food companies to take more aggressive steps to protect employees. Workers have been staging strikes at McDonald’s and other locations for weeks, organized by labor advocacy groups that have been pushing for higher pay for fast-food employees.

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