An open letter to Starbucks partners from Rossann Williams, evp and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada
As we continue to navigate COVID-19 together, I want to first take a moment to share my deepest gratitude and appreciation for all of you. You’ve led through an unbelievable amount of change these last few weeks and have come together in deeply human ways to support each other and our communities, including our brave front-line responders and health care workers. With every step, I know we are building a different kind of company and I feel incredibly proud and grateful to be on this journey with you.
As we look ahead, your safety and well-being remain our top priority and we will continue to make proactive decisions, based on the facts and science, to ensure you feel truly supported and cared for in the best way we can. As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, I have a few updates for you today:
- First, we are extending all temporary COVID-19 benefits until May 3, including Catastrophe Pay and Service Pay.We feel these are important benefits to extend at this time, so whether you are taking care of a loved one, responsibly self-isolating, or choosing to stay at home for any reason, you can have the confidence that you do not have to choose between coming to work and your personal well-being during this crisis. In fact, any partner who is sick, or feels more comfortable self-isolating for any reason can stay home and use Catastrophe Pay. Partners who are healthy and choosing to work will continue to receive an additional $3 per hour with Service Pay. With this extended timeline, we will also adjust proration for the one-time Service Bonus for ASMs and SMs to include a payout for leaders serving for 31+ days. We will continue other temporarily expanded benefits for partners, whether they are working a shift or not, like childcare support through Care@Work and our expanded Food/Beverage Benefit and discounts. As a reminder, resources like EAP for mental health support (or Lyra, starting Monday), CUP Fund, Headspace and more are always available to all partners.
- Second, we are also extending temporary café closures and modified operations until May 3. These are two significant steps that we can continue to take to help prevent social gathering in our stores, while still being able to be in service of our communities and front-line responders as safely as possible through select Drive-Thru, MO&P and Delivery Only stores. And I want you to know that we have listened to your recommendations over these past few weeks, so to relieve some of the MO&P pressure in select Drive-Thrus, we are also looking at adding an entryway handoff as an option for MO&P customers. We realize that each store is unique, so any modifications we make in the coming weeks will always be in partnership with local governments and health officials. After May 3, we do intend to slowly begin to adjust back to more normal operating models and benefits plans, recognizing that the COVID-19 situation in each community is still incredibly different and fluid.
Everything we are doing right now – comprehensive partner care, increased cleaning and sanitizing protocols, closing cafes and adjusting operations, and our Quick Connect wellness checks ahead of every partner’s shift – meets and in many cases even exceeds the expert guidance provided by the CDC and other public health authorities. We know the science on COVID-19 is rapidly evolving as researchers learn more. As it does, we want to continue to take proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of our partners, as that remains our top priority. As we consider additional tools for your care and well-being, we are going to begin sending thermometers to all company-operated stores for partners who would like to self-monitor their temperature as added reassurance before they start their shift. This is a completely voluntary step, and can be done as part of the Quick Connect wellness check before each shift. If a partner has a fever, they should go home and rest, supported with Catastrophe Pay. We’ll send additional instructions and details about the thermometer shipments to stores in Monday’s Weekly Update. We encourage you to also continue to self-monitor at home whenever possible to ensure that you are taking the best care of yourself.
We are also closely following the CDC’s evolving guidance on facial protections like masks and coverings. What we understand right now is that the CDC and other health authorities do not require or even recommend masks for healthy people. The CDC has only recommended masks for those who are already sick, or caring for someone who is sick. That said, we know the science on facial protections, including the use of non-medical, fabric masks, is evolving, so we are proactively looking into supply for non-medical grade options. We will share any updated guidance this week, as soon as we understand the new facts and science from our health experts. This will also help us be ready should local government mandates start to change, or when our public spaces start to reopen. Given the significant shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) around the country, we will not source medical-grade masks because we know our health care workers and first responders need those most urgently. In addition to thanking these brave men and women with free brewed coffee, we will also continue to contribute to organizations like Direct Relief that are helping get PPE to health care workers as another way that we can be in service to our communities during this crisis.
In the meantime, remember, the best thing we can all do to help stop the spread of the virus – based on confirmed scientific guidance – is to practice social distancing, stay home if you feel sick, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and sanitize high touch surfaces frequently.
In closing, I want to leave you with this: I’ve been a proud Starbucks partner for 15 years, and I’ve never seen us come together the way we have these last few weeks – doing everything we can to support each other, our customers and our communities. I know that the moments we are creating right now are the best moments our customers may have in their day-to-day lives, and our role in providing these moments has never been more important. These moments will lay the groundwork for our journey ahead as we continue to build this different kind of company together. I anticipate that we will have to navigate even more changes in the days and weeks ahead as we continue to learn new facts and science-based recommendations from our health care experts and local governments. You have our commitment – my commitment – that we will always make decisions with your care and safety first. So, please know this – together, we will get through this, and emerge even stronger, with more courage, resilience and hope for the future than ever before.