On March 21, Starbucks closed all U.S. locations that did not have a drive-thru option

By Georgia Slater
April 17, 2020 12:36 PM

Starbucks has announced plans to reopen a number of its stores that closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the hope of returning to normal operations in June, the company said Thursday.

In an open letter to employees, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson shared that the coffee giant would be transitioning into a “monitor and adapt” phase to determine which stores would be able to open and when.

“This means every community will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and people and businesses in that community will begin to adapt,” Johnson explained.

“It’s not a light switch, it’s more of a dial,” he continued in an accompanying video. “We’re gonna start dialing up the reopening of stores, and do that where we use the appropriate store format for that store and that community.”

Johnson noted that the company rolled out a similar plan in China, where more than 95 percent of stores have already reopened, Today reported.

“As was the case in China, this means we will gradually expand and shift the customer experiences we enable in our stores,” Johnson said.

“For example, some Starbucks stores will continue as drive-thru only, others may utilize the mobile ordering experience for contactless pickup and delivery and others may reopen for ‘to-go’ ordering,” he further explained.

Rossann Williams, the company’s executive vice president, announced in another letter Thursday that the company will “re-open as many stores as we can with modified operations” beginning on May 4.

On March 21, Starbucks closed all U.S. locations that did not have a drive-thru option and moved strictly to a delivery or drive-thru model, Business Insider reported.

While Johnson announced in March that the company would continue to pay all partners for 30 days whether they worked or not, Williams confirmed that Starbucks will “no longer be able to offer Catastrophe Pay to partners who are unwilling to work after May 3.”

However, those who are “healthy and choosing to work” will continue to receive an additional $3 an hour for their service.

Starbucks will also fuel those who work on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic by offering them free coffee through May 3.

Last month, the company announced that it will offer the perk to those who identify themselves as “front-line responders to the COVID-19 outbreak.” These essential workers helping during the health crisis will receive a 12-ounce brewed coffee, hot or iced, at no cost.

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