MILAN – Starbucks announced Friday that for at least two weeks it will temporarily close all of its cafe-only stores in the U.S and Canada and only operate drive-thru and delivery services amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company had been allowing customers to pick up items to go at many of its locations, but decided Friday to move to drive-through-only service.
Today, we are making the decision to close access to our cafés altogether for two weeks and limiting our services to drive-thru only,” Starbucks Executive Vice President Rossann Williams said in a statement.
“Some exceptions will be made for those cafés serving in or around hospitals and health care centers in our efforts to serve frontline responders and health care workers,” Williams also said adding that licensees will make their own decisions on their locations.
The company pointed out that all workers will be paid for the next 30 days regardless of whether they choose to go to work or stay home.
The decision comes after more than 35,000 Starbucks employees signed a petition demanding changes to daily operations as the coronavirus pandemic has led to calls for social distancing and many businesses have closed their doors or taken measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading among staff.
Starbucks is also temporarily adjusting some benefits for childcare. The company said its plan would include “20 days of backup care and the option to use out-of-network caregivers, including friends and family, with a reimbursement of up to $125 per day.”