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Starbucks closes nearly all cafes during coronavirus outbreak, will pay staff 30 days

Starbucks closes nearly all cafes during coronavirus outbreak, will pay staff 30 days

Starbucks announced Friday that for the next two weeks it will temporarily close all of its cafe-only stores and only operate drive-thru and delivery services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The company shared the changes in a press release, adding that all workers will be paid for the next 30 days regardless of whether they choose to go to work or stay home.

"Today, we are making the decision to close access to our cafés altogether for two weeks and limiting our services to drive-thru only," Starbucks Executive Vice President Rossann Williams said in a statement. "Some exceptions will be made for those cafés serving in or around hospitals and health care centers in our efforts to serve frontline responders and health care workers."

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The decision comes after more than 35,000 Starbucks employees signed a petition demanding changes to daily operations as the coronavirus pandemic has led to calls for social distancing and many businesses have closed their doors or taken measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading among staff.

"If you feel you’re taking a risk by coming to work or fear carrying the virus, please stay home. We will help you manage through your time off," Friday's statement read. 

Starbucks is also temporarily adjusting some benefits for childcare. The company said its plan would include "20 days of backup care and the option to use out-of-network caregivers, including friends and family, with a reimbursement of up to $125 per day."

Starbucks follows restaurants, bars and other shops around the countries that have closed, changed to take-out only or altered hours to address social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

The coffee giant had previously kept cafes open, but in many stores removed chairs and asked that customers did not stay in the store and only picked up their orders.