In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Starbucks said it is dropping its vaccination or weekly testing mandate for employees as originally required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last week that struck down President Biden’s vaccination requirement for companies with more than 100 employees.
"We respect the court's ruling and will comply," Starbucks COO John Culver said in the memo sent to employees. “Given the court’s ruling, we expect more jurisdictions may move quickly to pass local mandates. Starbucks will continue to follow all laws, mandates and public health regulations.”
Last week, the Supreme Court blocked President Biden’s requirement for employers with more than 100 workers to provide proof of vaccination or get tested regularly under OSHA, overturning a previous lower court decision that allowed the mandate to go into effect in January.
Starbucks had initially announced its plan to implement a vaccination or weekly testing mandate in compliance with Biden’s initial announcement, which would have gone into effect on Feb. 9.
On Tuesday, Culver said that Starbucks will continue encouraging its employees to get vaccinations and booster shots and disclose their vaccination status. He also disclosed that so far, 90% of its employees have been vaccinated.
“While the ETS is now paused, I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” Culver added.
Starbucks has asked employees to stop wearing cloth masks and instead opt for medical-grade surgical masks that will be provided by the company, according to NPR.
The coffee chain is among the most high-profile companies to walk back a vaccination requirement following the ruling of the highest court in the land, which will immediately affect Starbucks’ 228,000+ employees. Other non-foodservice or hospitality companies have announced that they plan to keep their vaccination mandates in place, like Citigroup Inc.
Other foodservice and hospitality companies, like McDonald’s, have not yet announced how vaccination policies for employees will change following the Supreme Court decision.
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