Starbucks Response to COVID-19 across EMEA: prioritising the health and safety of our partners and customers.


As the world continues to navigate the extraordinary human impact of COVID-19 and begins to imagine what life will look like as restrictions lift, Starbucks continues to put the health and safety of its partners (employees) and customers at the very centre of its recovery planning. As we look ahead to a responsible, phased opening of stores across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), this will not change, and we will draw on successful approaches taken elsewhere in Starbucks global network. We will also seek to play a constructive role in supporting health and government officials as they work to mitigate the spread of this virus and showing up in a positive way to serve our communities.

We are taking a phased approach to reopening our stores, to align with local government guidance as well as our own best practice learnings from our stores that are already open in China and the US. We will take every possible measure to reduce the number of partner and customer touchpoints, while still delivering the warm and familiar Starbucks Experience customers want from us.

We have taken unprecedented measures to support our partners and extended family of licensed operators in EMEA, as well as supporting frontline responders helping fight COVID-19 in communities across the region.

Our Stores

We are excited to reconnect with our local communities and to reopen our stores again. How we operate our stores will look and feel different but how we show up for our communities won’t change, with our stores being a place where everyone is welcome in whatever way is possible.

We have adapted our operations in accordance with government guidance and with additional measures to keep our partners and customers safe.

We are only opening stores where local jurisdictional guidance says it is safe to do so, and also where the store format and layout makes it possible to implement our upweighted cleaning and safety procedures to reduce the number of touchpoints between customers and partners (employees) at this time.

We are drawing on learnings from our stores in the US and China reopening – including the use of masks, gloves and thermometers as required, on a country-by-country basis. We have also shared comprehensive internal guidance with all our stores in EMEA on upweighted safety and cleanliness procedures.

  • Operating a ‘To-Go’ model: When the time is right, stores in EMEA will be reopening in either 100% takeaway, Drive-Thru or delivery models. In appropriate circumstances, some cafes will also reopen with café seating available but there will be social distancing measures in place.
  • Social distancing measures: Social distancing will be in place inside our stores, but where our operations allow, we will also be offering customers the choice of picking up their beverages at our store entrances.
  • Extra cleaning protocols and precautions: We continue to observe elevated cleaning and sanitising protocols . Additional steps we’re taking include: more frequent cleaning and sanitizing of high-contact surface areas, increased hand washing by partners, supplementing partner hand washing with hand sanitizer and restricting the use of personal cups, reusable cups and water bottles for partners and customers. We will continue to honour the personal cup discount in markets where this is offered.
  • Coffee delivered: In markets that offer Starbucks Delivers, delivery options are also available for those continuing to stay at home. Customers can add a note for their delivery person to leave their order at the door.
  • Contactless payments: Payment will preferably be made via contactless payment or, where available, payment can be made via the Starbucks Rewards app which also enables customers to order ahead.

We will continue to evaluate and assess our safety measures as we to manage through COVID-19. All decisions will be based on what is right for our local communities and based on local jurisdictional guidance, and as such specific measures may vary across the 40+ markets in which Starbucks EMEA operates.

Our Partners

Our strength as a company comes from our partners, and as a business we are constantly assessing how else we can support our partners manage COVID-19 as smoothly as possible.

Starbucks has paid partners at company-operated stores in full during the necessary stores closures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. We also launched the Global Partner Emergency Relief Fund, a first-of-its-kind initiative to help support our partners who find themselves facing financial hardship during these unprecedented times.

The global programme has seen an initial $10million invested in providing support to the extraordinary needs of partners affected by COVID-19 in markets across EMEA, aiming to cover expenses including (but not limited to) loss of household income, urgent travel needs, back-up child care, sudden loss of home, death of a family member or partner and related funeral expenses.

The fund is available to all equity partners, and as a business we are constantly assessing how else we can support our partners and navigate our way through COVID-19 together, as smoothly as possible.

Our Communities

We are dedicated to serving our communities constructively through the lens of Our Mission and Values: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.

Thanking front-line responders:  With first responders and health care professionals still very much on the frontline, we continue to give back to front-line responders where we can. As a small gesture of gratitude for everything they have and continue to do, registered healthcare workers will also be able to order a free Tall beverage of their choice from our stores.

Global Relief Fund: The Starbucks Foundation is donating more than $3 million to support global COVID-19 relief efforts around the world – to the UN Foundation, Give2Asia and local grants in the U.S. and Canada – designed to partner with key organizations in order to ensure those who need the most help get it.

Supporting Coffee-Growing Communities: The Starbucks Foundation has donated $1 million to Mercy Corps to support COVID-19 prevention communication and extend urgently needed direct support across coffee and tea farming communities in Indonesia, Colombia, Guatemala, India and Ethiopia. To prevent transmission and protect lives and livelihoods, Mercy Corps will provide hygiene supplies as well as vouchers, clean water filters and other assistance to vulnerable families during this crisis.

thumbnail for Meet the Starbucks EMEA Greener Store of the Year for 2023

Meet the Starbucks EMEA Greener Store of the Year for 2023