Starbucks to Stop Filling Reusable Cups Amid Coronavirus Fears

Drinks will only be served in disposable cups for the time being in the U.S. and Canada

Paper cup in a Starbucks coffee shop. During the third
Photo: Getty

Starbucks announced on Wednesday that in order to combat COVID-19 or coronavirus, the company is implementing multiple precautionary measures including pausing the use of personal cups and “for here” ware like ceramic mugs in their stores.

In a statement on the Starbucks website, Rossann Williams, EVP and President of U.S. and Canada-operated businesses, explained that the company is following guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and local health authorities. The measures also come after the publication of a new report in the Journal of Hospital Infection, which warns that the virus can live on surfaces for up to nine days.

As a result, the coffee chain will only serve drinks in disposable cups for the time being; however, they will continue to honor the 10-cent discount for those who bring their own cups or ask for “for here” ware.

Williams said that as the spread of coronavirus continues, the company is prioritizing the health and well-being of their partners and customers and working with local health officials and government leaders to combat the virus.

“We will continue to act thoughtfully and courageously despite the disruption and uncertainty COVID-19 brings to our daily lives. As part of communities worldwide, we are navigating this situation with nimbleness, learning and adapting as new information is made available,” she explained.

According to the statement, they’ve also “increased cleaning and sanitizing for all company-operated stores to help prevent the spread of all germs, adding paid time for our partners supporting this work” and briefed store teams on how to report and support anyone who expresses they may have been impacted by the virus.

In addition to these in-store procedures surrounding COVID-19, Starbucks has restricted all employees’ business-related air travel, domestic and international for the rest of the month, as well as modified or postponed large meetings across their offices in the U.S. and Canada.

While the measures mainly affect North American locations, Williams said that they are also supporting the needs of partners and customers globally.

“We will continue to stay close to our partners and local health officials, and we are optimistic this will be a temporary situation. Guided by our Mission and Values, and a commitment to one another as partners and to the people we serve, we will continue to communicate with transparency and act courageously and responsibly to ensure the health and well-being of our partners and customers.”

WATCH: Global Efforts Against the Spread of the Coronavirus Continue to Take Place

As of Thursday morning, there are 162 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 11 deaths.

California reported its first coronavirus-related death on Wednesday, and the other 10 have all occurred in Washington state. Cases have been reported in several other states, including New York, Texas, Arizona and Florida.

To prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC encourages maintaining basic forms of hygiene including careful hand washing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness.

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