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Starbucks closes US, Canada dining areas, offers to-go service

In an effort to help contain the COVID-19 virus, Starbucks is implementing a to-go only service model in its U.S. and Canadian locations.

"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,” Rossann Williams, executive vice president and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada, wrote in a letter to employees.

She said here is what to expect:

  • A pause of the use of all seating, including both the cafe and patio areas
  • Customers can still walk up and order at the counter, through the "order ahead” feature in the Starbucks app, via the drive-thru and use delivery
  • Each store will have a modified condiment bar.
  • There may be modified "order ahead” handoff areas on a store-by-store basis
  • Temporary closures for company-owned stores in high-social gathering locations, such as malls and university campuses\
  • Temporary store closures or reduced operating hours in communities with high clusters of COVID – 19 cases 

"Every community's needs are incredibly different," 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.”

The announcement builds on a foundation set by Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson last week in a letter sharing how the company had been preparing to respond quickly to COVID-19 emerging situations.  

Read all coronavirus coverage on FastCasual