Starbucks Keeps Doors Open, Requires Employees To Wear Face Masks During Coronavirus Pandemic

Starbucks Keeps Doors Open, Requires Employees To Wear Face Masks During Coronavirus Pandemic

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ordered that Americans wear face masks when out of their homes, Starbucks employees will now be required to follow the guidelines starting on April 7.

The coffee giant said in a statement that for those who do not have a medical-grade mask, it had offered a tutorial for making a face covering with supplies found in its stores. Starbucks intends to supply covers and thermometers so employees can take their temperatures.

In a company e-mail, Starbucks said, “Our goal remains to continue exceeding all health expert recommendations to make sure partners feel supported with the best science and facts available to us.”

Currently, all US and Canada stores are drive-through and delivery only. The company made the switch at the end of March, initially planning to keep the change for at least two weeks. 

In addition, it is also leaving the doors open for select grocery and drive-through locations, particularly those near or inside hospitals as a service for health care workers.

Additional Measures to Prevent Coronavirus Threat

The company started implementing restrictive measures to alleviate the threat of the coronavirus in its stores by removing cafe seating and not accepting customers’ personal cups for beverages.

Starbucks stands by its decision to continue operations at a limited capacity, letting customers know with a message on its app that “things are changing, but we’re still here for you.”

The company is also paying employees over who choose to self-isolate, whether they are sick or not, during the next 30 days. 

Rossann Williams, the executive vice president and president of US business and Canada, stated in a March 14 letter that “Our cafes in some areas are experiencing high traffic, and we need to do more to prevent the spread of this virus.” 

US Recovery Similar To China

On March 24, the CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson, asserted that the route America’s coronavirus outbreak is taking resembles the same one in China. 

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk on the Steet, he said, “It may be that in the United States it’s a little bit longer, a week or two longer period to see the recovery. It may be the same recovery, but right now its tracking in a very similar way to China.”

Johnson says he knows what to expect in the US thanks to a model built by the company to track its market recovery in China. These models and the company’s experience throughout the Chinese outbreak guide Johnson’s response.

Johnson said, “We’ve have been dealing with COVID-19 for nine weeks now in China, and throughout that entire nine-week journey we have learned the playbook and the curve in terms of when you shut down what happens to consumer behavior and as you go through this what happens when you open stores.”

According to Johnson, it took only 45 to 60 days for Starbucks locations in China to resume business. “These stores are opening in safe protocols, and we’re going slow to make sure this is happening, but the recovery is unfolding in China. And that is what gives us confidence that we know how to manage through this.”

So far, about 95% of Chinese stores which temporarily closed are open to the public once again.

Even though Wuhan continues to be under government-mandated lockdown until April 8, Starbucks recently reopened “four or five” stores in the city. 


  • Hageman, Hannah. “Coronavirus Live Updates.” NPR, NPR, 6 Apr. 2020,
  • Liao, Shannon. “Starbucks Is Closing Its Cafes Due to Coronavirus, with Some Exceptions.” CNN, Cable News Network, 21 Mar. 2020,
  • Stank, Kevin. “Starbucks CEO: Our Experience Tracking Coronavirus in China Shows US on ‘Very Similar’ Path.” CNBC, CNBC, 24 Mar. 2020,

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Madison Powers
Madison Powers