Starbucks Closing Most Stores in U.S. and Canada for 2 Weeks

Coffee retailer Starbucks will close most stores in the U.S. and Canada with some exceptions for drive-through operations and those close to hospitals.
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Starbucks Corporation  (SBUX) - Get Report said late Friday it will close most of its company-operated stores in the U.S. and Canada for two weeks to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are making the decision to close access to our cafés altogether for two weeks and limiting our services to Drive Thru only,” Rossann Williams, executive vice president in charge of company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada, said in a letter to employees. “Some exceptions will be made for those cafés serving in or around hospitals and healthcare centers in our efforts to serve front-line responders and healthcare workers,” Williams added.

Starbucks reported 10,020 company-owned stores in its Americas segment as of Dec. 31, according to its latest 10-Q filing with the SEC. 

The move comes as residents of New York, California and other states have been put under stay-at-home orders in an effort to limit contact between people and the spread of the coronavirus.

Attempts to curb the spread of the disease have intensified in recent days, with schools in many states ordered closed at least through the end of the month, and government employees urged to work from home if at all possible.

Stabucks will pay all employees for the next 30 days, “whether you come to work or choose to stay home,” the letter said. “We understand the pressure you may feel, and we hope this brings you some reassurance that, especially in difficult times, we are a different kind of company.”

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. have soared this week as more test kits have become available. Weeks of delay in producing tests have limited healthcare workers’ understanding of the spread of the highly contagious disease in the U.S.

By Friday afternoon there were 19,285 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University that’s up from fewer than 5,000 cases just a few days ago.

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