Starbucks will become the first national restaurant chain to require all customers to wear masks in stores

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Starbucks is set to become the first national restaurant chain to require customers to wear masks in locations. Starbucks
  • Starbucks will require all customers inside locations to wear masks starting on July 15.
  • “In our continued effort in prioritising the health and well-being of partners (employees) and customers, beginning on July 15, we will be requiring customers to wear facial coverings while visiting all company-owned café locations in the US,” Starbucks said in a statement.
  • Starbucks is the first national restaurant chain to roll out a mask policy for customers across the US, joining Costco and Apple in doing so.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Starbucks is set to become the first national restaurant chain to require customers to wear masks in locations.

The coffee giant announced internally on Wednesday that it would require customers to wear masks starting next week.

“In our continued effort in prioritising the health and well-being of partners (employees) and customers, beginning on July 15, we will be requiring customers to wear facial coverings while visiting all company-owned café locations in the US,” Starbucks representative Reggie Borges said in a statement to Business Insider on Thursday.

Many states and cities already require people to wear masks when in public, including when visiting coffee shops or stores. However, few national chains have announced mask policies for locations across the US, with Costco and Apple as the exceptions.

Starbucks employees will not be instructed to refuse to serve customers who are not wearing masks. Instead, customers will be asked to wear a mask or directed towards other ordering options such as drive-thru or curbside pickup.

In cases where anti-mask customer begin harassing employees – as has been a growing concern at restaurants and retailers – Starbucks employees have been instructed to follow deescalation practices, which were already part of the chain’s training. The week between the announcement and the new policy is intended to give locations the chance to put up signs about masks and answer workers’ questions about how the mask policy will impact their location.

A growing body of research indicates masks help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Business Insider’s Aria Bendix reports. If 95% of the US population wore face masks in public, the country could prevent roughly 33,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to a model from the University of Washington.

The need for a standard mask policy has been a hot topic for Starbucks baristas and leadership in recent weeks. A Coworker.org mask calling for a standard policy has more than 1,000 signatures; a source with knowledge of the situation told Business Insider that the new policy has been a discussion point for at least a week on the corporate level.

Workers across the US have faced harassment from anti-mask customers in recent weeks.

In late June,Starbucks barista Lenin Gutierrez asked a customer to wear a mask, as required in San Diego County. Gutierrez says that the customer began cursing at him, threatened to call the corporate office, and posted a complaint about the incident on Facebook. Gutierrez received more than $US101,000 in tips after the incident went viral.

A 19-year-old McDonald’s employee in California told Business Insider she was assaulted after asking a customer to wear a mask. A Waffle House customer reportedly shot an employee at in Colorado after being turned away for not wearing a mask. And, some restaurants have closed dining rooms back down to protect workers from anti-mask customers.