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Starbucks moves to drive-thru and delivery in U.S. only amid coronavirus, pledges 30 days of worker pay

·Correspondent
·2 min read
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Starbucks (SBUX) is temporarily suspending indoor access to all of its 15,000-plus U.S. cafés and will move to a drive-thru and delivery only as the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread.

The move comes after Starbucks transitioned to a “to go” model on Monday by removing all of its seating inside its stores and on its patios to help aide in social distancing.

“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,” Rossann Williams, president of U.S. company-operated business and Canada, wrote in a letter to Starbucks 220,000 partners. “This is a crisis that is moving quickly, and we need to stay ahead of it and do our part, recognizing this is often confusing, frustrating and dynamic. Today, we are making the decision to close access to our cafés altogether for two weeks and limiting our services to Drive Thru only,”

Customers of a Starbucks use the drive up window on March 18, 2020 in Hicksville, New York. (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Customers of a Starbucks use the drive up window on March 18, 2020 in Hicksville, New York. (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

About 60% of Starbucks stores in the U.S. have a drive-thru service. Starbucks offers delivery in partnership with Uber Eats across 49 markets in the U.S. Starbucks will keep its cafés in and around hospitals open as an exception to serve healthcare workers.

The coffee giant also said it will pay all of its employees for the next 30 days whether they choose to come to work or stay home.

“I want you to know there is nothing more important right now than your safety and that of your family,” Williams wrote. “If you feel you’re taking a risk by coming to work or fear carrying the virus, please stay home. We will help you manage through your time off. As we have said several times since the beginning of this crisis, no Starbucks partner needs to choose between their health and coming to work.”she wrote.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of March 20. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)
Confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of March 20. (David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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