Starbucks will reportedly require its U.S. employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing, according to media reports from outlets including The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and CNN. The restaurant chain set a deadline of Feb. 9, after which unvaccinated workers in its cafes, offices and other facilities must take weekly tests administered by a medical professional. Additionally, they must obtain and cover any costs for the tests themselves.
All employees will be required to disclose their vaccination status by Jan. 10. The retailer had previously allowed baristas to report their vaccination status on a voluntary basis. Starbucks stated that it recognizes that workers have a range of views on vaccination, but it is strongly suggesting that all employees get vaccinated.
“My responsibility, and that of every leader, is to do whatever we can to help keep you safe and to create the safest work environment possible,” said John Culver, COO at Starbucks in an internal message sent to employees.
Starbucks is among the first major companies to roll out a vaccine mandate. This puts the retailer ahead of the curve for OSHA’s upcoming vaccination mandate, which also could take effect as early as Feb. 9. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on emergency appeals seeking to block the mandate, but if the order is upheld all companies with 100 or more employees will be required to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or are getting tested weekly.