Starbucks announced Thursday that starting July 15, customers will be required to wear face masks in all company-owned café locations in the U.S. Customers, according to a statement from Starbucks. Howwever, will not be required to wear facial coverings in the drive-thru or picking up curbside “unless locally mandated,” Starbucks clarified in a tweet announcing the news.

Customers who prefer to not wear facial coverings (and are not required to by law) can always choose one of the off-premise options such as drive-thru, curbside pickup or delivery.

“The company is committed to playing a constructive role in supporting health and government officials as they work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Starbucks said in a statement. “Our partners have the right and responsibility to refuse service to customers who are not wearing facial coverings.”

The news follows an incident where a Facebook post went viral of a customer complaining when a San Diego Starbucks barista refused to serve her in late June because she was not wearing a mask. As a result of the viral Facebook post, nearly $100,000 was raised through a Go Fund Me for the barista who stood his ground.

The new mask policy — which was announced ahead of time so that “customers and partners have the space and time to prepare” — will be enforced alongside other previously announced COVID-19 safety procedures, including sanitation procedures, temperature checks and frequent employee hand-washing.

Additionally, Starbucks announced that it has “temporarily closed restrooms” to the public in Starbucks locations that do not have café seating (with exceptions made for uniformed first responders or those affected by the Restroom Access Act).

Image Sources

  • Starbucks face mask image: Shutterstock