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Coronavirus concerns see Starbucks temporarily ban personal and in-store cups

Audrey Conklin

Starbucks has issued a temporary ban on personal and in-store cups to prevent the spread of germs.

The coffee giant on Friday disclosed that an employee at one of its Seattle locations tested positive for novel coronavirus, marking the chain's first confirmed case of the illness in its workforce.

Among other precautions, Starbucks wrote in a blog post that the store is "pausing the use of personal cups and 'for here' ware" at all of its locations but added that it "will continue to honor the 10-cent discount for anyone who brings in a personal cup or asks for 'for here' ware."

The coffee chain typically allows customers to bring in their own thermoses or use "for-here" glass plates and cups at the store rather than its plastic and paper "to-go" options. Customers who do this get a small discount on their coffee purchases.

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The company has halted all business travel through March 31 and postponed large meetings.

"For the last few weeks, we have been closely monitoring and preparing for all the possible scenarios and ensuring we have the right plans and resources in place, defined principally by the expert guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local public health authorities," Starbucks executive vice president Rossann Williams wrote in a Friday letter to staffers following news of the infected employee.

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"Looking ahead, we will continue to follow our COVID-19 protocols. ... The frequent, additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures already underway in all our stores are fully in line with their guidance. I know the situation with COVID-19 is evolving quickly and we might hear about other impacted partners in our Starbucks community, here and around the country," he added.

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This post contains material from a previous FOX Business article.

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