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Starbucks is closing thousands of cafe-only stores across the US, keeping drive-thrus open and paying workers for 30 days whether they come to work or not

  • Starbucks is closing cafe-only stores across the US, temporarily shuttering thousands of locations due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • All workers will be paid for the next 30 days whether they go to work or stay home.
  • Starbucks will switch to a drive-thru and delivery-only model for the next two weeks.
  • More than 35,000 people have signed a petition started by a Starbucks employee calling for the coffee giant to suspend its business due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Starbucks is temporarily closing its traditional cafe-only stores for two weeks, moving to a drive-thru and delivery-only model.

All workers will be paid for the next 30 days whether they go to stores or stay home.

The coffee giant told employees on Friday that it would close all cafes, exclusively using a drive-thru and delivery model starting on Saturday. Customers can use the Starbucks app to check which locations near them are still serving.

Some select locations in and around hospitals and healthcare facilities will remain open, staffed with employees who are open to working in these environments. Licensed stores, such as those in Target locations, will remain open.

The decision represents the most widespread closure in the chain restaurant industry, as major national chains like McDonald's and Dunkin' attempt to continue carry-out services in which customers order at the counter.

Nearly 60% of Starbucks locations have drive-thru capabilities, a number that has increased in recent years. Starbucks has more than 15,000 stores in the US.

Some workers have been asking Starbucks to close locations to encourage social distancing

starbucks barista

On Sunday, the coffee chain announced that it was moving to a to-go model in all company-owned stores in the US and Canada for at least two weeks, pausing the use of all seating, modifying condiment bars, and closing some stores in "high-social gathering locations" such as malls and colleges, as well as shutting stores and cutting hours in areas with high clusters of COVID-19 cases.

Following the announcement, some employees pushed for Starbucks to take more aggressive action to encourage social distancing. More than 35,000 people have signed a petition as of Friday calling for Starbucks to suspend its business due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"We are made to feel guilty for not wanting to serve our communities in a time like this," one worker told Business Insider earlier this week. "However, Starbucks needs to serve its people right now."

"By suspending operations, we'd be further serving our communities by limiting the potential to spread this virus even further, we'd be able to have some peace of mind and isolating so that we could see our older family members and we'd further be able to support our children, who are home from school during a pandemic," the employee continued.

Fast-food executives including the president of McDonald's US business and the CEOs of Chick-fil-A, Papa John's, and Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons, spoke with President Trump earlier this week on the role of chain restaurants during the coronavirus. Executives emphasized chains' abilities to serve communities during the outbreak, while people are social distancing and trying to "flatten the curve" as the coronavirus spreads.

Read more about how the coronavirus outbreak is impacting fast-food workers:

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