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Starbucks Promotes Social Distancing in Temporarily Moving to 'To Go' Orders

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For at least the next two weeks, coffee drinkers will have no choice but to take their orders “to go” at Starbucks.

“We have made the decision to move to our next level of protocols,” Rossann Williams, Starbucks Coffee Company’s executive vice president, said in a statement on Sunday.

She added, “We will move to a ‘to go’ model across the U.S. and Canada for at least two weeks to help prevent prolonged social gathering in our cafés.”

Stores in the United States will remain open for the drive-thru, “Mobile Order & Pay,” and delivery orders. Customers will also be able to order in stores but will have to take their orders to go.

Williams explained that the company is “pausing the use of all seating, including all café and patio seating.”

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The company will also close stores in “high-social gathering locations” such as malls or college campuses. It will also limit hours or temporarily close stores in areas “with high clusters of COVID-19 cases,” such as Seattle, Washington, or New York City. 

The new changes to the U.S. and Canada stores are based on operational changes the company made in its stores in China to address the outbreak of the virus in there.

Williams said the decision to shift to the “to go” model was made in recent days as several states and government officials urged Americans to take more steps to practice social distancing. 

Starbucks had previously stopped using customers’ personal cups, or its “for here” dishes, in response to the spread of the virus, as IJR previously reported. 

News of the changes comes as several states, including California, Connecticut, Ohio, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey, announced they were ordering bars and restaurants to close — except for take-out or delivery orders. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that for a while, “Life is not going to be the way it used to be in the United States.”

“We have to just accept that if we want to do what’s best for the American public,” he added. 

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