Cases of Coronavirus have risen within the last month worldwide. According to CNN, it has killed over 3,300 people worldwide, mostly in China.
Because of the fast outbreak, many companies are taking serious measures to protect their customers. Starbucks recently announced that they will temporarily stop coffee lovers from using their personal cups to help prevent the virus from spreading.
In an open letter posted on the company’s website Wednesday, the executive Vice President Rossann Williams wrote that the company has “taken a series of precautionary steps in response to this emerging public health impact.” This statement comes after Starbucks closed over half its stores in China in January–although many have since reopened.
Read the full letter below:
As a global company, we’ve been closely monitoring the dynamic situation of COVID-19, along with the rest of the world.
First and foremost, the health and well-being of our partners and customers remains top of mind and our highest priority, and we will continue to act thoughtfully and courageously despite the disruption and uncertainty COVID-19 brings to our daily lives. As part of communities worldwide, we are navigating this situation with nimbleness, learning and adapting as new information is made available.
Our focus remains on two key priorities: Caring for the health and well-being of our partners and customers and playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the virus. [CDC Link]
Although the situation remains fluid, our U.S. and international markets have gleaned learnings from our leadership team and partners in China who were first faced with this epidemic. As North America began experiencing heightened concerns, we quickly initiated a regular cadence of communications with our store partners to ensure they have the support they need. We’ve already taken a series of precautionary steps in response to this emerging public health impact:
- We are taking guidance from the CDC and local health authorities, we have increased cleaning and sanitizing for all company-operated stores to help prevent the spread of all germs, adding paid time for our partners supporting this work.
- We are pausing the use of personal cups and “for here” ware in our stores. We will continue to honor the 10-cent discount for anyone who brings in a personal cup or asks for “for here” ware.
- We have provided scenario-based procedural information to our store teams on how to report and support anyone that may express they’ve been impacted by the virus, including store closure decision making support.
- We have restricted all business-related air travel, domestic and international through March 31.
- We have modified or postponed large meetings across our offices in the U.S. and Canada.
We are also in regular communication with our business partners, including licensed operations, to make sure we are supporting the needs of partners and customers, globally.
We’ll continue to do what is right for our customers and partners. Our hope – as always – is that after this is over partners will look back and say, ‘I can’t believe I work for a company that cared so much for me, my family and my community.’
We will continue to stay close to our partners and local health officials, and we are optimistic this will be a temporary situation. Guided by our Mission and Values, and a commitment to one another as partners and to the people we serve, we will continue to communicate with transparency and act courageously and responsibly to ensure the health and well-being of our partners and customers.