SEATTLE — Starbucks Corp. is shifting to a “to-go” model at all company-owned stores in the United States and Canada effective March 15. The new plan involves the “pausing the use of seating” and will last for at least two weeks.
“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,” wrote Rossann Williams, executive vice president and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada, in a company-wide letter.
Customers can still walk in and order at store counters, place orders through the company’s app, order at the drive thru or via delivery, according to the company. Some stores may also feature modified order ahead handoff areas for users of the company’s app.
Company stores in high social gathering areas like malls and university campuses will be closed temporarily. Starbucks said it also temporarily will close or reduce operating hours in communities with high clusters of coronavirus cases.
“Every community’s needs are incredibly different,” Ms. Williams wrote. “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.”
Starbucks’ Americas business unit, which includes the United States, Canada and Latin America has 18,067 locations and generated sales of $18.3 billion during fiscal 2019, ended Sept. 29, 2019.