Starbucks informed staff that it would close its cafes in the United States in response to the coronavirus crisis, though it will remain open for delivery and drive-thru customers, the company said in an emailed statement Friday.
Some cafes close to hospitals or health care centers will remain open, according to the statement, as part of the company’s “efforts to serve first responders and health care workers.” And Starbucks will continue to pay all employees for the next 30 days, whether they come to work or stay at home.
About 60% of Starbucks stores have a drive-thru option, and the company offers delivery in markets across 29 states.
The move is the latest in a series of escalating steps that Starbucks has taken in response to the coronavirus crisis. The coffee chain had already eliminated seating at all its company-owned stores in the country and closed some stores in “high-social gathering locations,” like malls and college campuses.
Starbucks had come under pressure from customers and employees to shutter the stores as the pandemic intensified. On Monday, McDonald’s joined other fast-food companies and closed its restaurants except for delivery and drive-thru.
Starbucks has been through this before in one of its most important markets — China. As the virus sickened tens of thousands of people in China earlier this year, the company closed more than 2,000 stores. As of last week, 90% of those stores had reopened.
Also on Friday, Starbucks announced it would close all its stores in Britain.