Starbucks will require customers to wear mask starting next week

Starbucks will now require customers to wear face masks when entering its thousands of locations, according to a statement Thursday.

The international coffee brand had announced its employees would wear masks as reopening of some locations began in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since wearing masks is not mandated by all local governments, Starbucks officials decided that as of July 15 customers who don’t have masks must order from the drive-thru or through curbside service as a way to prioritize the “health and well-being of partners (employees) and customers.”

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“The company is committed to playing a constructive role in supporting health and government officials as they work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” read the statement.

The policy change comes a couple of weeks after an incident in which a customer at a San Diego Starbucks was reportedly denied service for not wearing a mask. The customer, Amber Lynn Gilles, posted a photo of a barista, Lenin Gutierrez, who reportedly denied her service. The incident led to Gutierrez receiving more than $85,000 in tips via a GoFundMe account due to many people supporting his decision to not serve the maskless woman.

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Starbucks has required its employees to wear masks since April. The Seattle-based franchise has more than 28,000 locations worldwide. Since its inception in 1971, Starbucks has become a presence in nearly every neighborhood across the country. Stores have opened in Target and Kroger locations as an alternative to those communities without standalone stores.

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