Starbucks is moving to its “next level of protocols” in response to the government and more communities calling for increased social distancing to help contain the coronavirus.
The Seattle-based coffee giant announced Sunday that effective immediately it is closing some locations and shifting to a “to go” model at thousands of company-owned locations for “at least two weeks to help prevent prolonged social gathering in our cafés,” Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president, president U.S. company-operated business and Canada, said in a statement.
The number of locations that will temporarily close was not immediately available, but the company said in a statement that the locations were in “high-social gathering locations” including malls and university campuses.
The company also is closing select stores or reducing hours in communities including Seattle and New York which have high clusters of COVID-19 cases.
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Locations that are staying open are “pausing the use of all seating” including patio seating, modifying the condiment bar and making a change to the “cash handling process.”
The locations will take orders in store, through “Mobile Order & Pay” and the drive-thru. Delivery will still be available.
“These are the actions we know are effective based on our experience in China,” Williams said in the statement. “Working together, I am confident we can modify operations in all stores quickly and seamlessly, as we know the majority of our customers already get their order ‘to go.'”
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