Starbucks shifts to delivery, drive-thru only amid coronavirus outbreak

Coffee giant ceases takeout, in-store operations

Starbucks moved to drive-thru and delivery only, closing thousands of cafes across the country in a move to help contain the spread of coronavirus. In a March 20 letter from Starbucks EVP and President of U.S. Operations Rossann Williams, the company announced that it would be eliminating takeout at its coffee shops. “While we have worked hard to exceed any public health requirements, our cafés in some areas are experiencing high traffic, and we need to do more to prevent the spread of this virus,” said Williams.

Rossann Williams letter to Starbucks partners

She also said that employees (Starbucks partners) would be paid over the next 30 days, whether they stay home or come to work. As the company acknowledges some employees may be uncomfortable coming to work, may lose access to childcare or may come down with coronavirus disease, Starbucks is ramping up benefits. Williams said, “…we’ve temporarily adjusted our Care@Work benefit to 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.”


In addition, Starbucks employees will be able to apply for the company’s CUP grant, without being restricted to the normal three-year waiting period between applications. Also, during this time of crisis and stress related to COVID-19 outbreak, employees will receive six (6) free counseling sessions as part of their benefits. Employees can contact the Partner Resources Support Center (PRSC) at 888-SBUX-411 as another support outlet.

The coffee giant also indicated it would keep updating employees as it received additional information about government relief efforts. Its latest decisions come after conducting two COVID-19 live discussions with Starbucks partners.

Photo credit: Starbucks

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