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Coronavirus: Starbucks moves to a “to go” model across the US and Canada

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MILAN – Starbucks is moving to a “to go” model in North America to reduce social contact for fear of the coronavirus outbreak. “We have made the decision to move to our next level of protocols” wrote Rossann Williams, Evp and president of U.S. company-operated business and Canada, in a letter to Starbucks partners.

“Starting today, we will move to a “to go” model across the U.S. and Canada for at least two weeks to help prevent prolonged social gathering in our cafés.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • We are pausing the use of all seating, including all café and patio seating
  • Café, Mobile Order & Pay, Drive Thru and Delivery will still be open
  • We are modifying the condiment bar in all stores
  • We are modifying the MOP handoff plane on a store-by-store basis
  • We are integrating a change in our cash handling procedure, moving to a designated partner at POS and Drive Thru Window, and allowing (but not requiring) gloves for partners in these roles.

These are the actions we know are effective based on our experience in China. Working together, I am confident we can modify operations in all stores quickly and seamlessly, as we know the majority of our customers already get their order “to go” and most of our customers who typically use our café seating are also used to visiting us at MOP and Drive Thru. We had the opportunity to connect with your field leaders yesterday, and they are ready to work with you to help execute these temporary changes and make sure you are feeling fully supported”.

“We will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary to protect our partners, customers and communities. While we make these shifts in all stores for at least two weeks, we are also taking the following measures:

  • We are temporarily closing company-operated stores in high-social gathering locations like stores that are located inside malls or on university campuses.
  • In communities such as Seattle and New York with high clusters of COVID-19 cases, we will reduce operating hours or temporarily close select stores,” Williams concluded

Starbucks is also offering “catastrophe pay” to U.S. baristas who have been exposed to the coronavirus

The global coffee chain, which implemented similar measures in China, will pay employees for up to 14 days if they have been diagnosed with, exposed to or in close contact with someone with the coronavirus.

Workers who may be considered higher risk because of underlying health conditions are also eligible for catastrophe pay with a doctor’s note.

Starbucks is the latest corporation to adjust its policies as the number of U.S. cases of the virus climbs, reports CNBC. Darden Restaurants extended paid sick time to all hourly employees on Monday, and Walmart has instituted an emergency sick leave policy.