Starbucks, the coffee chain company, announced Friday that its company-operated stores in the United States and Canada will move to drive-through and delivery mode only for the next two weeks except for some outlets near healthcare centers and hospitals. The coffee chain also announced that it will pay all its workers for the next 30 days, even if they choose to stay at home amid fears of the Coronavirus Covid-19 spread.
In addition to the catastrophe pay, Starbucks will continue to offer mental health and sick pay benefits, childcare support and more.
“The magnitude of managing through this situation is the single biggest challenge many of us have faced in our lifetime, and I am continually moved by your compassion for each other, our customers and our communities during this exceptionally difficult time. With daily news from friends and family members getting laid off and businesses closing, we need one another more than ever. We need to be a different kind of company,” executive vice president and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada, Rossann Williams wrote on the company’s site. “Together, we have successfully navigated many challenges throughout our history, and managing COVID-19 will be no different. You have my word, we will continue to stay true to Our Mission and Values, making the right decisions even when it’s hard, and caring for you and our customers.”
Starbucks will be offering mental health benefits to its workers, including 20 free sessions per year. Their expanded childcare benefits increase backup care day to 20 from 10 and allow workers to get reimbursed up to $125 per day for childcare costs.
Starbucks Announces 30 Days’ Pay
Starbucks has discontinued all seating in its outlets. Customers can order ahead through the Starbucks app and come and collect via the drive-thru or use delivery at their 9,600 company-owned stores in the US and Canada. Their condiment bar will operate on a smaller scale. They plan to close all company outlets in high social gathering outlets such as in educational institutes and shopping malls. Also, stores located in high incident areas will be temporarily closed.
Williams said that this was Starbucks’ effort to be responsible and cooperate with the local healthcare authorities and the CDC guidelines.
The new announcement further clarifies Starbucks chief executive officer Kevin Johnson’s letter sharing how the company was preparing to respond to the COVID-19 emerging situations.
The CEO in the letter emphasized that Starbucks believed in prioritizing the health of its customers and partners and playing a constructive role in serving the healthcare workers.
He emphasized that all precautions were being taken to sanitize the sites thoroughly and maintain hygiene in the stores.
He said they will use their experience and insights gained in China to respond to the situation in the US. “We have also prepared our stores to respond quickly to any emerging situation, leveraging the considerable insights we’ve gained from our experience in China, where we continue to see encouraging signs of recovery with over 90% of stores reopened.”
A coworkers.org petition had collected more than 35,000 signatures calling on Starbucks to suspend its operation due to fears of coronavirus spreading to the workers.
McDonald’s, KFC and other fast food outlets are also adopting no seating and drive through models to avoid exposure to the virus among the workers.