SHEESH!…… And I was headin’ to Starbucks right after I finished writing this! </sarc>
Starbucks has announced that it will be temporarily pausing the use of personal cups and “for here” ware such as ceramic mugs, amid the growing coronavirus outbreak. All drinks will now be served in disposable cups for the time being in the U.S. and Canada.
The statement released earlier today by Rossann Williams, EVP and President of U.S. and Canada-operated businesses, pledged to focus on two main priorities; “caring for the health and well being of customers and partners” and “supporting local health officials and government leaders” in their attempts to contain the virus.
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.
Starbucks stores often ask customers with reusable cups to remove the lid before handing it over for their caffeine fix, likely due to germs from the mouth making the lid a potential microbiological hazard. But the new strategy decides to do away with the cups altogether, presumably with the goal of further minimizing the risk of transmitting the virus between staff and customers, or vice versa.
Scientists have predicted that the virus could live on surfaces for up to nine days and the company also announced that it will be stepping up cleaning and sanitizing procedures for all stores, along with giving staff extra paid hours to complete this extra work.
Starbucks offers a 10-cent discount for all drinks provided in re-usable cups and says it will honor this for anyone who still brings their re-usable cup or asks for “for here” ware to drink their beverage while in-store.
Re-usable coffee cups have soared in popularity in recent years as consumers become increasingly conscious about the waste created by often non-recyclable disposable coffee cups. However, they still make up only around 5% of purchases of takeaway coffees, so only a small proportion of customers will have to switch back to a less eco-friendly coffee cup for now.