LOS ANGELES - Starbucks has announced that customers and employees will be required to wear face masks when they enter stores beginning July 15.
According to an official statement by the coffee chain, the new policy will be enforced in all company-owned cafe locations in the United States.
“At select locations where a local government mandate is not in place, customers that may not be wearing a facial covering will have various options to order their Starbucks, including ordering at the drive-thru, curbside pickup through the Starbucks app or placing an order for delivery through Starbucks Delivers,” read the statement.
The company reiterated its commitment to playing a “constructive role” in supporting health and government officials in their attempts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The new policy comes after a few negative interactions between employees and customers over facial coverings.
More than $20,000 was raised for a San Diego barista who refused to serve a customer because she was not wearing a mask. A GoFundMe was started after the customer posted a photo of the barista wearing a mask, complaining that she was not served because she was not wearing one.
“Raising money for Lenin for his honorable effort standing his ground when faced with a Karen in the wild,” the creator of the GoFundMe wrote in the description of the page, referencing the widely-used “Karen” memes used to call out women who ask to “speak to the manager” or are otherwise perceived to be entitled.
In another incident at a Texas location, a Starbucks barista was attacked after asking a customer to wear a mask. The customer was not wearing a facial covering, and when asked to put on a facial covering, punched the barista in the face, according to the Midland Police Department.
“We are saddened by this situation and relieved that the partner is doing well. We want everyone to feel welcome in our stores,” a spokesperson said in an email. “We respectfully request customers follow social distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering when visiting our stores.”