Currently, about 50 percent of Starbucks locations are closed. The company hopes to have 90 percent of its stores back open by the summer.

By Mike Pomranz
April 29, 2020
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Across the U.S., the coronavirus has temporarily shuttered about 50 percent of Starbucks locations—a precaution taken before many state governments had acted. But as parts of America slowly start to ease lockdown measures, two questions emerge: When are those stores going to reopen, and what will they look like when they do?

This first wave of reopenings will begin on May 4, though each opening will take place on a case-by-case basis during this phase which Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has dubbed “monitor and adapt.” “We are now leveraging digital tools that enable us to monitor the COVID-19 situation in every community across the US, and leverage a variety of service options from contactless service, entryway pickup, curbside delivery where parking is available and at-home delivery that allow us to thoughtfully reopen stores and scale up operations,” he said in yesterday’s company earnings call. “We are finding new innovative ways to serve our communities, prioritizing the safety of our customers and partners with the focus on exceeding public health standards and adjusting to new customer expectations.”

Starbucks

According to Johnson, those reopenings will take place “community by community, in a thoughtful way,” and will potentially see the brand “turn the dial up or down depending on the situation in a specific community or a specific store.” But he set the final target as having “approximately 90 percent of all company-operated US Starbucks stores reopened by early June with enhanced safety protocols and modified schedules.”

Today, the company followed up with details on what that modified service will look like—many of which are similar to what we’ve seen in locations that have remained open. Customers are being encouraged to download the Starbucks app to order ahead and pay with maximized social distancing. Starbucks says that, “in most cases,” these orders can even be picked up from a barista at the door without even entering the café. However, “a majority of stores” will continue with drive-thru service only. And only “select locations where social distancing can be accommodated” will allow customers to order inside and pick it up at the counter—and only “a limited number of customers” will be allowed in at a time. Later in the call, Chief Operating Officer Rosalind Brewer clarified that, as far as company-operated locations are concerned, only “roughly 30 stores that will be cafe open and order.” Finally, seating areas will remain closed—so if you’re feeling cooped up at home, don’t plan on once again making Starbucks your part-time office anytime soon.

And speaking of being stuck at home, Starbucks is also still encouraging people to use Starbucks Delivers where available—and is even extending $0 delivery fees until the end of May.

But if you do head into a Starbucks café, expect to see other changes as well. The company will be “providing partners with protective equipment, including facial coverings and gloves.” And all baristas will have a “pre-check” before starting their shift, which will include temperature checks. “Starbucks will continue to prioritize the health and well-being of partners (employees) and customers to control the spread of COVID-19 in accordance with the expert guidance of the CDC and local public health authorities,” the company stresses.

So how will you know the situation at a Starbucks near you? The coffee chain suggests checking their app or online store locator to find which stores are open and see their current hours.