Starbucks prepares to reopen stores closed in coronavirus pandemic, predicting a return to normal operations in June

Starbucks prepares to reopen stores closed in coronavirus pandemic, predicting a return to normal operations in June
starbucks coronavirus closed ohio rest stop
  • Starbucks is preparing to reopen locations that shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic, CEO Kevin Johnson announced on Thursday.
  • Employees will no longer be paid if they do not show up for work starting May 3, as Starbucks adjusts its store formats and service options in stores that reopen.
  • Starbucks expects to resume normal operations, ending its Catastrophe Pay program and $3 pay bump for workers in June.
  • President Trump announced that Starbucks CEO would join other restaurant industry leaders in advising the White House on America's economic revival.
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Starbucks is preparing to reopen stores and once again require employees to attend work.


On Thursday, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced that the company is rolling out plans to reopen stores that shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic, using different store formats and timing in different areas. The coffee giant is predicting a return to normal operations in June.

"With governments, health care professionals, businesses and citizens all working together, there is evidence many markets have in fact 'flattened the curve' and are now beginning to see a decline in the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases," Johnson said in a letter to employees.

"This is prompting many to define the next steps that will appropriately prioritize health concerns while, at the same time, take thoughtful and measured steps to serve our communities," Johnson continued.

On March 20, Starbucks announced it was closing all stores without drive-thrus, converting many locations into drive-thru and delivery-only businesses. The company allowed all workers to be paid whether or not they came to work, with those who did go to work receiving $3 extra per hour.


Starting on May 3, Starbucks will no longer pay workers who are healthy but do not want to show up in stores. Employees who do not want to risk going to work will need to use vacation day or unused sick leave. Those who do work in stores will continue to receive the $3 pay bump through May.

High-risk employees, including those with illnesses that make them susceptible to COVID-19 and people living with healthcare workers, are eligible to be paid without showing up at work through Starbucks' "Catastrophe Pay" program.

Starbucks said it plans to phase out Catastrophe Pay and the $3 pay bump for employees who do show up at work in June when the coffee chain is predicting a return to normal operations, pay, and benefits.

Starbucks' CEO is advising Trump on economic revival during the coronavirus pandemic

Kevin Johnson

Earlier this week, President Trump announced that Johnson would join other restaurant industry leaders in a "Great American Economic Revival Industry Group" for the industry. When announcing the creation of the groups, Trump said that the plans to reopen the country are "close to being finalized."

"The day will be very close because certain states, as you know, are in much different condition and in a much different place than other states," Trump said on Tuesday. "It's going to be very, very close. Maybe even before the date of May 1st."


Johnson said in Thursday's letter that Starbucks aims to "exceed public health requirements" as it reopens stores. The chain plans to emphasize options such as contactless service, entry-way pickup, curbside delivery, and at-home delivery.

According to Johnson, Starbucks will look at the local status of the coronavirus outbreak, guidance from health and government officials, community sentiment, and stores' operational readiness when deciding to reopen.

"Not all decisions are financial, and in a crisis like this, they must be secondary to the health and well-being of our partners and customers," Johnson said.

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