Starbucks suspended use of reusable cups on Wednesday, as the world grapples with the global coronavirus pandemic.
The worldwide coffee shop chain announced the decision in a statement posted to its official website: “We are pausing the use of personal cups and ‘for here’ ware in our stores,” said Executive Vice President Rossann Williams, though she promised the company would “continue to honor the 10-cent discount for anyone who brings in a personal cup or asks for ‘for here’ ware.”
This safety measure is one of several included in the company’s response to the growing worldwide threat posed by “COVID-19,” more commonly identified as the Wuhan virus, or coronavirus. Notably, Starbucks is “taking guidance from the CDC and local health authorities,” increasing cleaning and sanitizing procedures in every location.
Starbucks has also cancelled its massive annual shareholder gala, originally set to attract thousands of investors to downtown Seattle. Instead, the 2020 meeting has been reduced to an online event. The company’s hometown is currently treating 39 cases of coronavirus, with another 231 under observation. Ten have died.
While initial reports emphasized the relatively slow spread of the original contagion, there is now official confirmation that the virus has produced a new, more aggressive strain through mutation similar to influenza. Unfortunately, while it does not appear to be as contagious, the coronavirus is many times more deadly, according to reports.
Starbucks seems to be hoping its response will make an impression on customers and employees alike. “We’ll continue to do what is right for our customers and partners,” the statement concluded. “Our hope – as always – is that after this is over partners will look back and say, ‘I can’t believe I work for a company that cared so much for me, my family and my community.’”