Starbucks temporarily closed a Reserve store location in downtown Seattle after an employee was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was quarantined last Friday. This is the first case of coronavirus contracted by a Starbucks in-store employee. In order to further prevent the spread of coronavirus, the company immediately closed the affected store, initiated a deep-clean procedure and sent home employees that had direct contact with the infected partner.
Although Starbucks was given permission by the city of Seattle and King County’s public health officials to reopen the store the next day, the company waited until after the weekend to reopen the store. Per CDC protocol, all employees who were working with the diagnosed partner during that shift are being self-quarantined for 14 days.
“We have had these health and safety protocols in place for weeks and months so as soon as we learned of the positive test, we closed the store,” a Starbucks spokesperson said. “That evening, we conceivably could have had it ready to open next day but because [the roastery] requires specific partner training, we needed time to find employees to come in to work shifts.”
Additionally, all Starbucks employees now waiting out the 14-day isolation will be paid for shifts that they were already scheduled for during the quarantine, including the employee recovering from coronavirus at home, who is “being fully supported” by Starbucks.
This news comes on the heels of the new coronavirus-related guidelines Starbucks released, which include pausing the use of personal cups from home, restricting business travel and increasing store sanitation protocols.
Starbucks has also announced COVID-19’s impact on its China business, where sales were down 78% in February, though the coffee chain maintains that the impact is temporary.
“This is a moving target and right now we’re taking guidance from scientific facts,” a representative for Starbucks said. “We’ll continue to evaluate the options that we’ve been planning. We have learned a lot from our leaders in China on how to handle this. We’re ensuring that Starbucks partners and customers are safe.”
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