Starbucks will no longer require its U.S. employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly coronavirus testing, following last week’s Supreme Court decision blocking the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test rule for large businesses.
John Culver (North America president and chief operational officer at Starbucks) announced the change to his staff in a memo on Tuesday.
More than 90 percent of Starbucks workers in the United States have disclosed their vaccination status, according to the memo, and “the vast majority” are fully vaccinated. Starbucks has approximately 200,000 domestic employees. It operates nearly 9,000 stores.
Since the Supreme Court’s decision last Thursday, Starbucks is one of the first major employers to backtrack on its plans to require vaccines. Large companies were left with the responsibility to determine how to keep workers safe from the rising number of Covid-19 cases, which was fueled by the Omicron variant.
The Supreme Court’s decision, while blocking the federal government’s vaccine rule, does not prohibit companies from putting their own mandates in place. Other large employers have also kept their mandates.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration had issued a temporary, so-called emergency standard in November to protect public health. This required businesses with 100 or more employees to require them to vaccinate their employees or submit to weekly testing. A number of business advocacy groups challenged the rule in court.
“While the E.T.S. is now paused, I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” Mr. Culver wrote.
On Jan. 3, Starbucks said it would comply with the Labor Department’s vaccine-or-test rule starting on the federal government’s deadline of Feb. 9. The company stated that workers would need to declare their vaccination status by January 10.
Starbucks also announced a number of new Covid-19 safety protocols. Workers will now be required to wear 3-ply medical quality masks. Additionally, isolation guidelines have been expanded for anyone who has been exposed.
Source: NY Times