Beginning today, Starbucks is instituting a temporary move to a “to go” model for all of its locations in the U.S. and Canada. One of the more sweeping actions taken by a major food chain, the coffee giant is looking to adhere to advice about social distancing among an exponential uptick in cases of COVID-19.
The model, which finds the company closing down seating in its cafe and patio areas, will be in place for at least two weeks, according to the company. Instead, Starbucks will rely on its app for ordering ahead, drive thru in certain locations, walk up counter and delivery.
Locations in “high-social gathering locations” like schools and malls will temporarily be closed. Same goes for communities that have been hit with large clusters of COVID-19 cases.
“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,” EVP Rossann Williams said in a statement. “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.”
Earlier in the week CEO Kevin Johnson laid out some preemptive plans aimed at prioritizing "the health and well-being of our customers and partners while also playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the virus.”