The company also announced more safety measures that take effect today.

Coffee drinkers head to Starbucks for different reasons. Of course, people enjoy their drinks (including the ones on the secret menu), but the coffee chain's variety of mugs are also beloved, especially when you receive a 10-cent discount for using one. But as of today, you'll no longer be able to fill your reusable cup at Starbucks.

In a news release posted on its website, the corporation addressed concerns around COVID-19. "As a global company, we’ve been closely monitoring the dynamic situation of COVID-19, along with the rest of the world," Rossann Williams, president of U.S. company-operated business and Canada for Starbucks, writes. "Our focus remains on two key priorities: Caring for the health and well-being of our partners and customers and playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the virus."

starbucks sign
Credit: Nicole Wiegand

Williams explains executives in the U.S. and other international markets are learning from their counterparts in China to take several precautionary steps, including some that directly affect customers. First, Starbucks will increase cleaning and sanitizing in all company-operated stores. Also, all locations will pause the use of reusable cups, including "for here" mugs, which are used and returned while in the store. However, during the policy change, you can still get the 10-cent discount if you bring your mug from home and ask for a "for here" cup.

Along with those adjustments, the company provided information to staff on how to report and support anyone infected with the coronavirus. Starbucks has also restricted business-related air travel through March 21 and changed large meetings in the U.S. and Canada.

Starbucks just posted the release online today, and they're already implementing the new policies. One editor spotted a sign on the doors of a coffee shop in Des Moines, Iowa. The post reads, "We are temporarily pausing the use of reusable cups in care of our customers and partners." It's unclear how long the reusable mug ban will last. "We will continue to stay close to our partners and local health officials, and we are optimistic this will be a temporary situation," notes Williams in the release.

The Seattle-based business often touts its commitment to sustainability, including its shift from single-use to reusable packaging, so this decision was likely not an easy one. Hopefully, the new directives won't need to last long.


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