Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Starbucks to Require All U.S. Customers to Mask Up

Business
Starbucks to Require All U.S. Customers to Mask Up
A Starbucks employee in a mask and face shield at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on May 12, 2020. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP via Getty Images

Anyone entering a U.S. Starbucks from July 15 will have to wear a face mask, the company announced Thursday.


The policy comes as U.S. coronavirus cases continue to surge, with the country breaking its record for new cases Thursday for the sixth time in 10 days, with more than 59,880 new cases reported, according to The New York Times.

"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 its statement.

Other companies that require customers to wear masks include Costco and Uber, according to USA TODAY. Around 20 states and Washington, DC already require masks in public places, but other states, including hotspots like Arizona and Florida, do not, CNN reported.

In those states, Starbucks customers who chose not to wear masks can order their coffee at the drive-thru, use curbside pickup through the Starbucks app or have orders delivered by Starbucks Delivers, the company said.

Starbucks has required employees to wear masks since April, according to CNN. But masks are most effective at preventing wearers from spreading the virus to others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), meaning the more people who wear one, the more everyone is protected.

"Cloth face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings," the CDC wrote.

One study of households in Beijing where one person was infected with the virus found that if everyone in the home wore a mask before they knew anyone was sick, it reduced the risk of transmission by 79 percent, according to NPR. And a model found that if 80 percent of people wore masks, it would be more effective at combating COVID-19 than a lockdown, University of California San Francisco explained.

But mask requirements have led to conflicts in retail settings. One confrontation at a Starbucks went the other kind of viral, CBS News reported. When San Diego yoga instructor Amber Lynn Gilles was asked to wear a mask at a local Starbucks in accordance with county rules, she took to Facebook to complain. The act backfired. She was widely criticized, and a GoFundMe for the barista who asked her to mask up, Lenin Gutierrez, raised more than $100,000.

Reactions by angry customers at other retail establishments have prompted the Retail Industry Leaders Association to write a letter to the the National Governors Association urging states to require masks across the board, as USA TODAY reported Wednesday.

The retail body, which represents large chains including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Walgreens and Home Depot, said that the current patchwork of state and local mask rules had led to confusion, which increased employee-customer confrontations.

"Retailers are alarmed with the instances of hostility and violence front-line employees are experiencing by a vocal minority of customers who are under the misguided impression that wearing a mask is a violation of their civil liberties," retail association President Brian Dodge wrote in the letter.

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less
What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out? Ronny Hartmann / AFP / Getty Images

By Zheng Chen and Darren H. S. Tan

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch