In response to the worsening coronavirus crisis across the country, Starbucks has announced that they will be extending all café closures, as well as catastrophe pay and other benefits for employees, through May 3, according to a letter to employees from executive vice president Rossann Williams. Originally, café closures, which were announced on March 21, were supposed to last “at least two weeks,” while sick, elderly, or at-risk employees could initially receive up to 14 days of catastrophe pay if affected by the pandemic. Starbucks will also be extending their $3 per hour “Service Pay” raises for all in-store employees through May 3.
“We will also continue other temporarily expanded benefits for partners, whether they are working a shift or not, like childcare support through Care@Work and our expanded food and beverage benefit and discounts,” Williams continued in the letter.
In addition to helping out employees with special benefits, the letter from Williams also stipulated that the company will again be ramping up sanitation procedures and shifting operational procedures to adjust to the “new normal” during the COVID-19 crisis. Starbucks is providing wellness checks for employees before every shift and sending thermometers to company-operated stores for employees who want extra assurance as they come into work.
The company is also “looking into” providing “non-medical-grade masks” as options for employees who come into work, though Williams clarified that they would not be sourcing medical-grade masks due to the nationwide shortage in hospitals.
Other adjustments are meant to ease service adjustments as Starbucks is operating on a delivery and drive-thru model-only. They are looking into adding a store entryway handoff for customers to mitigate traffic at drive-thru lines for select stores.
“After May 3, we do intend to slowly begin to adjust back to more normal operating models and benefits plans, recognizing that the COVID-19 situation in each community is still incredibly different and fluid,” Williams said in the letter.
On the philanthropic side of the company, Starbucks has also announced that the Starbucks Foundation has donated more than $3 million to support “community response efforts globally” to COVID-19, including funds being raised for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization, $250,000 being contributed to local nonprofits in Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle, and another $250,000 donated to nonprofits in New York City, which has the nation’s highest rate of coronavirus.
“This critical funding will help with unforeseen expenses for medical and cleaning supplies, additional staff and overtime to help care for more than 300 children in shelter who no longer have school to go to each day, and curb the threat of the virus by helping more families move out of shelter and into housing,” Marty Hartman, Executive Director, Mary’s Place, a nonprofit shelter organization based in Seattle, and recipient of a donation from Starbucks.
In addition to this long list of charitable donations, Starbucks also announced that it will be providing a free, tall brewed coffee to front-line responders, including healthcare workers and emergency responders.
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