Starbucks to shut 16 US stores over safety concerns

Starbucks on Monday announced to close 16 stores in the USA after workers reported incidents related to drug use and other disruptions in cafes.

Starbucks said it would permanently close six stores each in the Seattle and Los Angeles areas, two in Portland, Ore., and single locations in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. by the end of the month, reports The Wall Street.

The company said it received reports from workers about incidents that they said involved drug use by some customers and in some cases, members of the public, in certain locations. Starbucks said it would transfer employees to other locations when it permanently closes the stores.

“We read every incident report you file—it’s a lot,” wrote U.S. operations leads Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson in a message to U.S. employees Monday. “We cannot serve as partners if we don’t first feel safe at work,” they said, referring to the company’s term for employees.

Starbucks also said that it would give store managers leeway to close restrooms, limit seating or reduce operations in response to safety concerns. The moves are part of policies aimed at addressing workers’ concerns, including about their safety on the job, the company said.

Managers can continue to change store layouts if needed, including limiting seating to customers, the spokeswoman said. The company said it would provide additional guidance to baristas in how to deal with active shooter scenarios and conflict de-escalation at work.

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