Starbucks Is Getting Rid of This Starting Monday
The world's largest coffee chain is about to make this major change.
Shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made a sudden announcement about fully vaccinated people not needing to wear masks outside or inside any longer, companies across the U.S. scrambled to decide if they should make adjustments to their mask policies. The CDC's new mask guidance, which was revealed on May 13, suggests it's safe for anyone who's fully vaccinated to keep their faces uncovered in most situations. And now—following in the footsteps of Walmart, Trader Joe's, Costco, Sam's Club, and Publix—Starbucks is no longer requiring face masks for vaccinated customers, beginning Monday, May 17.
Just one day after the CDC's major announcement, which came as a shock to many people across the country, Starbucks revealed masks will no longer be mandatory for customers who are two weeks out from their final jab. The new rule is dependent on whether or not local officials have chosen to adopt the CDC's recommendation, Starbucks says on its website. Some states—like California, New York, and New Jersey—are still considering whether or not they'll lift mask requirements indoors.
"It is our responsibility to protect our partners and customers, and we are committed to meeting or exceeding all public health mandates," reads Starbucks' May 14 announcement, which also notes that widespread vaccine availability led to the CDC's guideline change.
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As for Starbucks employees, which the company refers to as "partners," they will not be allowed to remove their face masks inside stores, vaccination status notwithstanding. They will also continue to be required to complete a pre-check before the start of their shifts, which includes temperature checks.
"As of February 8, partners at all company-operated locations in the U.S. & Canada will be required to wear multi-ply facial coverings (or double mask) during their shifts and continue to frequently wash their hands per standard protocol," Starbucks explains. "They also have the option to wear gloves if they choose to."
Starbucks is also trying to motivate its employees to get vaccinated by providing paid time off to do so. "We are strongly encouraging our partners to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible," the company states. "Starbucks will provide up to two hours of paid time off for partners to receive each dose of the vaccine, up to two doses, as well as up to 4 hours of paid time off if partners experience vaccine-related side effects and miss a scheduled shift within 48 hours of receiving each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, up to two doses."
Starbucks will also maintain its enhanced cleaning and sanitizing measures to help reduce the spread of COVID inside its coffee shops. Along with the frequent cleaning of high-touch surface areas, plexiglass shields and bar guards will continue to be used in areas people can't social distance.
And more changes could be coming down the line. "We continue to closely monitor guidance from local and national health authorities and will update our procedures as needed to adhere to the most effective health and safety standards," Starbucks explains.