McDonald’s closed 12 restaurants across Melbourne in May after a truck delivery driver tested positive to COVID-19.
The closures followed the discovery of a coronavirus cluster at the Fawkner McDonald’s outlet in Melbourne’s north, where at least 12 staff and their close contacts were infected. An employee at the Craigieburn outlet also tested positive, prompting the closure of the store for deep cleaning.
Staff at takeaway KFC outlets in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will also be required to wear supplied masks.
While the fast food companies have adopted compulsory mask policies, many major retailers are leaving the decision to staff.
Chemist Warehouse does require staff to wear face coverings, with mandatory masks and face shields for employees in all of its metropolitan stores.
Masks remain optional for customers, however stores require a temperature check before entering.
The major supermarkets, including Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and IGA, issued a joint statement last week saying face masks would be optional for customers as well as staff.
Masks are also voluntary for employees at Kmart and Bunnings, however, the hardware giant says it is “strongly recommending” that staff wear them.
“We’re offering team members new masks each shift and guidance on how to use them correctly,” said Bunnings general manager operations Ryan Baker.
The major banks are also supplying masks for staff, with Westpac, NAB and Commonwealth Bank saying that it would be up to each person to decide if they want to use them.
Victorian health authorities updated their advice about masks after a recent spike in coronavirus cases. Premier Daniel Andrews urged people to wear masks in places where they cannot maintain a social distance, such as in taxis, on public transport or supermarkets.
“It is our request of you, it’s not compulsory, we are simply asking that if you can wear a mask where you can’t distance, that is exactly what we would like you to do,” Mr Andrews said.
Retail and Fast Food Workers Union secretary John Cullinan said employees are forced to wear masks should be given the correct equipment and proper training.
“There just needs to be a process where workers are trained,” he said.
“Rather than give the 15-year-old a single-use mask that they wear for nine hours and then come back and wear it the next day.”
Tom Cowie is a journalist at The Age covering general news.