According to letter sent to customers by Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, some U.S. and Canada stores may become drive-thru only while others could limit the number of people allowed inside -- including limited seating and/or mobile-ordering only.
The coffee company made the announcement one day after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of coronavirus a pandemic.
“As a last resort, we will close a store if we feel it is in the best interest of our customers and partners, or if we are directed to do so by government authorities,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson added.
Johnson emphasized that any closures will be temporary and that decisions will be made on a store-by-store basis.
Starbucks has approximately 15,000 U.S. stores and 1,600 Canadian stores. Additionally, Starbucks has already increased the pace of sanitizing stores and put into place a temporary ban on use of personal cups or in-store mugs and glassware.
While this has not gone into effect yet, locations in the U.S. and Canada are preparing to modify operations if needed.
The measures are similar to those that Starbucks deployed in China, its second-largest market. The global coffee chain has reopened about 90% of its locations in China after temporarily shuttering more than half of them due to the virus.
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