Restaurants

Starbucks will require customers wear facial coverings as coronavirus cases surge

Key Points
  • Starbucks customers at company-owned locations will have to wear a facial covering, starting July 15.
  • Retailers and restaurants are trying to navigate protecting their employees' health during the coronavirus pandemic without agitating customers who do not wear a mask.
Starbucks shift supervisor Adan Miranda wears a face mask as he serves a drink to a customer while standing behind a plexiglass shield in a booth outside the store in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, May 21, 2020.
Rich Pedroncelli | AP

Starbucks said Thursday that it will require customers to wear facial coverings at all company-owned locations, starting July 15.

The announcement comes as retailers and restaurants try to navigate protecting their employees' health during the coronavirus pandemic without agitating customers who do not wear a mask, even if it is required by the state or locality. Social media videos show customers berating or even becoming violent with cashiers, salespeople and baristas who ask them to wear a mask or leave the establishment. 

Starbucks is joining the growing list of companies that require customers to wear masks, including Costco and major airlines. On Monday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association urged governors to step in and require consumers not affected by a medical condition to wear masks when shopping or in public spaces.

Starbucks said that customers who are not wearing a facial covering at locations without a local government mandate have other options to order their drinks. Drive-thru ordering, curbside pickup through its app or placing a delivery order will be open for those customers.

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