Medical Technology

Starbucks Nixes Vaccine Mandate After Supreme Court Ruling

Starbucks has stopped required its U.S. workers to be vaccined against COVID-19, changing the policy it announced earlier in the month.

In a memo sent Tuesday to employees, the Seattle coffee giant said it was responding to the ruling of last week’s by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court voted 6-3 to deny the Biden administration’s plan for vaccines and regular COVID testing for companies with more than 100 employees.

“We respect the court’s decision and will follow through,” Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote in the memo.

Starbucks’ decision to reverse its decision is among the most well-known corporate responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Target and a host of other major companies have remained mum about their plans.

Starbucks announced on Jan. 3 that all employees would have to be vaccinated before February 9, or face a weekly COVID testing requirement. Culver said it was the responsibility for Starbucks’ leadership to “do whatever we can” to ensure that employees are safe and provide a safe work environment.

Culver wrote in the memo issued on Tuesday that the company encourages booster shots and vaccinations. Culver also advised workers Tuesday not to wear cloth masks to work and that they should wear medical-grade surgical masks.

Starbucks required employees to disclose their vaccination status by Jan. 10. Starbucks stated Wednesday that 90% of employees had reported and that the “vast majority” (90%) are fully vaccination-free. Starbucks wouldn’t say what percent of workers are not fully vaccine-free.

Starbucks employs 228,000 employees in the U.S.

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