Starbucks temporarily adopts ‘to go’ model, will close or shorten hours near coronavirus clusters


If you need your Starbucks latte, be prepared to grab it to go.

The Seattle-based coffee chain said it is taking increased procautions in its stores as more communities, and the federal government, call for increased levels of “social distancing” to guard against the COVID-19 outbreak.

For at least the next two weeks, Starbucks will take steps to prevent customers from gathering in its cafes in the U.S. and Canada. It is pausing the use of seating, both inside cafes and on patios. But most cafes, mobile order and pay and drive-thru and delivery options will remain open.

The company is also looking to make changes in its mobile order pickup station and its condiment bar in stores, and will allow partners to wear gloves while collecting payments.

Starbucks said some of its company-operated stores will be temporarily shut down in “high-social gathering” locations like inside malls or on university campuses.

In locations such as Seattle and New York, where there are clusters of coronavirus cases, the company will reduce operating hours or temporarily close select stores.

Starbucks said these steps were highly effective when deployed in China.