Starbucks announced that beginning July 15, customers will be required to wear masks inside company-owned stores.
About 50 percent of states require people to wear masks in public. The coffee chain said that for areas where that mandate isn’t required, those not wearing a mask may order via the drive-thru, curbside pickup, or delivery.
Employees have been required to wear a mask since April. The CDC recommends that people wear a mask or facial covering whenever they go out in public.
“The company is committed to playing a constructive role in supporting health and government officials as they work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” the brand said in a statement.
Media outlets across the country have highlighted several confrontations between customers and employees about wearing a mask, including at Starbucks.
On June 29, A Starbucks barista in San Diego gained national attention when he refused to serve a customer who wasn’t wearing a mask, which is mandatory in California. The customer posted a photo of the employee on Facebook in an attempt to generate backlash, but it resulted in people sending the worker more than $90,000 in tips.
“It is our responsibility to protect our partners and comply with local public health mandates,” the company said. “As such, our partners have the right and responsibility to refuse service to customers who are not wearing facial coverings.”
Starbucks’ announcement comes as COVID cases across the country are continuing to spike. Daily reported cases have consistently surpassed 50,000 in the past two weeks. More than 3.1 million citizens have been infected and more than 130,000 have died from the disease.