Coffee giant Starbucks said they will be requiring customers to wear facial coverings or masks in its company-owned American stores.

According to a CNN report this requirement will begin on July 15th.

Starbucks has 9,000 company-owned stores in American.

The mandate is Starbucks’ “continued effort in prioritizing the health and well-being” of its employees and customers during the pandemic.

In a statement on Thursday, Starbucks said:

“The company is committed to playing a constructive role.

(This is) in support (of our) health and government officials as they work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Starbucks said customers who refuse to wear a mask inside can order from the drive-thru, curbside pickup, or delivery.

The coffee shop has made its cafe employees wear a mask or facial covering since April, said the report. 

This is part of the broader changes the multi-national company implemented to safeguard against the coronavirus.

San Diego Starbucks Paved The Way

In June, a Starbucks barista received praises for his initiative to not serve a customer who refused to wear a mask.

This happened at 4227 Genesee Avenue Starbucks in San Diego.

Starbucks barista, Lenin Gutierrez, also received a USD12,000 tip for his deed.

Gutierrez gracefully expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming support he received.

Meanwhile, the unnamed woman who posted her experience with Gutierrez in her social media received backlashes.

The woman intended to shame the barista but it worked the other way around.

Read the full story here.

The netizens even dubbed her as a “Karen.” A Karen is a pejorative term.

It refers to a woman perceived to be entitled or demanding beyond what is considered appropriate or necessary.

Cost-Cutting To Survive

Starbucks said it plans to close up to 400 stores in the US and Canada over the next 18 months.

At the same time they are adding more carryout and pick-up only locations, said CNN.

Starbucks claimed this is a retail strategy.

The company explained on June 11th:

It is designed to “enhance the customer experience, expand our retail presence, and enable profitable growth for the future.

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