Starbucks closing some stores and moving to a to-go model in Canada in response to coronavirus

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Published March 15, 2020 at 10:32 pm


If you regularly visit Starbucks, your local store might close or transform into a to-go store to combat the spread of coronavirus. 

In an open letter to Canadian employees, Lori Digulla, president of Starbucks Canada, announced that the company is temporarily moving all stores to a “to go” model. 

She also said that stores in high-traffic areas such as malls and colleges/universities will be closed. 

“These are the actions we know are effective based on our experience in China,” she wrote.  

Digulla said the company is removing all seating, including all café and patio seating. While customers cannot stay in a store for any longer than necessary, they can still order food and drinks, as the cafés will remain open. Customers can also still use Mobile Order & Pay (MOP), drive-thrus and delivery options. 

Digulla also said the brand is modifying the condiment bar in all stores and the MOP handoff plane on a store-by-store basis.

“We are integrating a change in our cash handling procedure, moving to a planted partner (employee) at the point-of-sale and drive-thru window, and allowing (but not requiring) gloves for partners in these roles,” Digulla wrote. 

“We are temporarily closing company-operated stores in high-social gathering locations like stores located in malls that don’t have exterior/street access, and in colleges and universities.”  

Digulla says that over the last two weeks, the company has activated precautions in all stores nationwide – including increased cleaning and sanitizing to pausing reusable cups–and expanded catastrophe pay for employees impacted by COVID-19.

She said the brand has also begun “leaning into additional measures” on a store-by-store basis, including reducing operating hours or temporarily closing select stores.

Digulla says these changes will start today and will last for at least two weeks. 

All stores in Canada will move to the “to go” model by Wednesday, and closures will be complete by the end of the week.

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