Starbucks Is Closing 16 US Locations Over Safety Concerns

For most people, going to Starbucks usually means grabbing a cup of coffee, chatting with a friend over Pink Drinks, or parking yourself at a table to use the free WiFi. At 16 of the coffee chain's locations, however, things look a little different. Instead, according to Market Watch, workers there have been reporting numerous incidents involving drug use and various disruptions that have ultimately created an unsafe environment for regular customers and workers.

After receiving these reports, Market Watch shares, Starbucks corporate has decided to take action by permanently closing the 16 stores, most of which are located in Seattle and Los Angeles, with the others being in Portland, Philadelphia, and Washington. As for the employees at these soon-to-be closed stores, Starbucks assures they'll be transferred to other locations so they are able to keep their jobs and work in a safe environment. 

In the meantime, Starbucks has granted these employees permission to operate their stores at reduced capacity, close public restrooms, and limit in-store seating until they can officially close their doors.

Starbucks is putting new safety measures in place at all stores

In light of the 16 planned store closures, Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson, Starbucks' senior vice presidents of U.S. operations, shared an open letter to their employees addressing safety on the job. "We want you to know that creating a safe, welcoming, and kind third place is our top priority. Because simply put, we cannot serve as partners if we don't first feel safe at work," the letter reads.

Stroud and Nelson also wrote that they've read every filed incident report and announced that Starbucks is modifying policies, programs, and benefits accordingly. This includes mandating safety training for all partners, updating policies and procedures to increase preparedness, and providing resources such as Lyft at Work and free counselors following an incident. Physical safety measures including new alarm systems, restroom occupancy sensors, and protective furniture layouts will also be added to stores. 

In the event that a location is proven to be too unsafe to continue business, Starbucks will simply close the store permanently to protect employees, just as they've done with the recent 16.