In a memo sent to workers, Starbucks took back its mandate for workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to work at its outlets.
Reversing its policy after the Supreme Court ruling, the coffee-giants memo read that the company was responding to last week’s ruling wherein with a 6-3 vote, the court rejected the Biden administration’s plan to require vaccines or regular COVID testing at companies with more than 100 workers. “We respect the court’s ruling and will comply,” Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote in the memo.
On Jan. 3, Starbucks told its 228,000 people workforce that it would require all employees to be vaccinated by Feb. 9 or face a weekly COVID test requirement. At the time, Culver said it was the responsibility of Starbucks’ leadership “to do whatever we can to help keep you safe and create the safest work environment possible.”
In this week’s memo, Culver said the company continues to strongly encourage vaccinations and booster shots. The company also told workers on Tuesday that they shouldn’t wear cloth masks to work, and should instead use medical-grade surgical masks.
Starbucks required workers to reveal their vaccination status by Jan. 10. The company said Wednesday that 90% have reported and the “vast majority” are fully vaccinated. Starbucks wouldn’t say what percent of workers are not fully vaccinated.