Four weeks ago, Starbucks CEO Howard Schutz told the NY Times that the company was assessing increasing threats to public safety over it's "all inclusive" 2018 bathroom policy that encouraged homeless people and drug addicts to make copious use.
Now, the company is now shuttering 16 locations in major cities over incidents related to drug use and 'other disruptions' in its cafes, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company on Monday announced that it would be permanently closing six stores each in Seattle and Los Angeles, as well as two in Portland, OR, and single locations in Philadelphia and Washington DC by the end of the month.
The move comes after workers reported incidents involving drug use by customers and members of the public - which, logically, comes after the company's 2018 virtue signaling campaign which eventually included the installation of needle deposit boxes at various locations after employees signed a petition demanding the company do more to protect them.
"We read every incident report you file—it’s a lot," wrote operations leads Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson in a message to U.S. employees Monday. "We cannot serve as partners if we don’t first feel safe at work." (Starbucks refers to its employees as 'partners')
Starbucks also said that it would give store managers leeway to close restrooms, limit seating or reduce operations in response to safety concerns. The moves are part of policies aimed at addressing workers’ concerns, including about their safety on the job, the company said.
Managers can continue to change store layouts if needed, including limiting seating to customers, the spokeswoman said. The company said it would provide additional guidance to baristas in how to deal with active shooter scenarios and conflict de-escalation at work. -WSJ
Last month, Schultz told the NYTimes that increasing threats to public safety and an expanding mental health crisis have made it challenging for employees to manage stores under open bathroom policies. He said the decision was an "issue of just safety."
"We have to harden our stores and provide safety for our people," the CEO of America's largest coffee chain said. "I don't know if we can keep our bathrooms open."
Remember when Howard Schultz thought he was fit to be president of the United States?