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Starbucks to temporarily change to a “to go” model in U.S. stores

Last updated on March 23, 2020

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In a letter to all U.S. partners today, Starbucks shared changes the company is implementing to encourage social distancing, in an effort to help contain the COVID-19 virus.  

“As we all know, the situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary to protect our partners, customers and communities,” wrote Rossann Williams, executive vice president and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada.

Starting today, Starbucks will be moving to a “to go” model in all company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada for at least two weeks.

Here’s what you can expect:

All seating, including both the café and patio areas will be paused.

Customers can still walk up and order at the counter, through the “order ahead” feature in the Starbucks app, via the drive thru and use delivery.

A modified condiment bar will be available in all stores.

You may see modified “order ahead” handoff areas on a store-by-store basis.

Temporary closures for company-owned stores in high-social gathering locations, such as malls and university campuses.

Temporary store closures or reduced operating hours in communities with high clusters of COVID – 19 cases.

Williams continues, “Every community’s needs are incredibly different. We want to make sure we play a constructive role by taking responsible actions, in partnership with the CDC and local public health authorities, so we can continue to do what’s right for our partners and customers.”

Today’s announcement builds on a foundation set by Starbucks chief executive officer Kevin Johnson last week in a letter sharing how the company has been preparing to respond quickly to COVID-19 emerging situations.  

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