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Starbucks plans to open stores back up in May

The company is using its experience in China as a template for its actions in the U.S.

Photo (c) krblokhin - Getty Images
In a letter to employees, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said that the company plans to gradually reopen a large number of stores throughout May. 

Like other brick-and-mortar establishments, the coffee chain is currently only serving guests through its drive-thru lanes in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Johnson said Starbucks has been using its experience in China to help it decide on a timeline for reopening U.S. locations.

Johnson noted that 95 percent of Starbucks’ stores are open, although many are operating with reduced hours and limited seating in compliance with local guidelines. 

“We are leveraging our experience in China to inform our COVID-19 response strategy in the U.S,” he said. “Although the virus did not begin to materially impact our U.S. business results until mid-March, we took progressive steps to contain the spread of the virus starting in late February.” 

The executive said Starbucks’ efforts to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus included stepping up its cleaning and sanitization procedures and temporarily closing mall locations. 

Increasing worker pay

Going forward, the plan is to gradually expand the types of services available at various locations. Types of service offered will vary between mobile ordering, drive-thru, pickup, and the addition of to-go services at some locations. 

In a separate letter, Rossann Williams, president of U.S. company-operated business and Canada, said Starbucks will continue to offer an additional $3 per hour pay to healthy individuals who choose to work next month.

“We will also continue to have Catastrophe Pay available for partners whose stores have to close, or stay closed, during May,” she said. “And in order to ensure partners are paid for their average baseline hours, we will make Catastrophe Pay available to help close the gap between hours worked on Service Pay and average baseline hours through May 31.

Regular operations, pay, and benefits are expected to be reinstated starting in June. 

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