16 Starbucks Stores Closing Due to Safety Problems

Drug use cited as the reason as other safety concerns are also on the rise
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2022 12:34 AM CDT
16 Starbucks Stores Closing Due to Safety Problems
This file photo taken on June 26, 2019, shows a Starbucks sign outside a Starbucks coffee shop in downtown Pittsburgh, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Sixteen Starbucks locations across the US will be permanently shuttered by the end of this month, thanks to safety issues. "After careful consideration, we are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate," a spokesperson tells CNN. Six of the affected stores are located in Seattle, six in Los Angeles, two in Portland, Oregon, and one each in Philadelphia and Washington, DC, the Wall Street Journal reports. The announcement comes after two senior VPs at the coffee chain addressed safety concerns in a Monday letter to the company's workers reassuring them that they read every single incident report employees file, and that "it's a lot."

The letter noted that Starbucks employees are "seeing firsthand the challenges facing our communities—personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use, and more." They added, "We know these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores too." Active shooter trainings and conflict de-escalation trainings are being made available to workers, the letter says. Restrooms may soon be allowed to be closed to the public, or seating limited to customers only, at the store manager's discretion. If a store cannot be made safe, the company says, it will be closed and employees will be moved to nearby stores. Specifically, the 16 store closures happening this month are related to reports of drug use by customers and other members of the public. (Read more Starbucks stories.)

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