Starbucks has reportedly suspended plans to require vaccination or weekly testing for its workers, according to CNBC. The rollback comes after the Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration overstepped its authority in an OSHA mandate that would have required companies with more than 100 workers to test employees who weren’t fully vaccinated.
Starbucks is still encouraging its baristas to get inoculated. A letter to employees seen by CNBC stated that 90% of Starbucks employees have disclosed their vaccination status and that the “vast majority” are fully vaccinated.
“While the [Emergency Temporary Standard] is now paused, I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” wrote John Culver, COO and North American Group President at Starbucks in the letter.
Starbucks is still enforcing its requirement that all baristas wear at least one three-ply, medical-grade mask. N95, KN95 or KF94 masks are allowed, though the company can’t provide them due to supply constraints. Starbucks also will temporarily expand its self-isolation policy, including pay for workers who tested positive and need to miss shifts, to help combat the current wave of omicron infections.
Starbucks has generally been a leader in developing a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from making early plans to improve social distancing to reopening after lockdowns in early 2020. The retailer also has been making major investments in its workforce, including plans to raise the average hourly wage to $17 in summer 2022.