In an effort to further promote social distancing (a thing we should all be doing, full-stop), Starbucks has announced that all company-owned stores across the U.S. and Canada will be temporarily shifting to a to-go only service model for the next two weeks. So if you like hanging around your local Starbucks and looking like a deep thinker while you read a self-help book you bought four minutes earlier with your sugar-infused coffee-based beverage — you’re not going to get to do that anymore (and baristas have never been happier).
Stores will still be open if you want to walk in and place an order, but there will be no available seating (including on the patio) and the company is also looking to close stores in other locations like malls and university campuses where foot traffic is high. According to USA Today, Starbucks will also be closing select stores and reducing hours in communities that have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, like Seattle and New York (the number of locations temporarily closing was not made immediately available). Changes will also be made in the cash handling process, with some stores adopting mobile ordering and payment and limiting most interactions to the drive-thru.
Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive Vice President expressed confidence in the measures, saying in a statement on the changes, “These are the actions we know are effective based on our experience in China.”