Starbucks Just Announced a New COVID-19 Policy for Employees


Ahead of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate set to take effect in February, Starbucks just released a new COVID-19 workplace policy: Get the vaccine or get tested weekly, CNN reports. 

Showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is becoming an increasingly common part of life. From traveling to dining out, depending on where you live, you may need to provide one or the other. And for many Americans, proof of vaccination or a negative test is about to become a requirement of going to work.

The Starbucks announcement comes about a month before the vaccine mandate set by the Biden administration is set to go into effect. In November, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the details of the mandate, which will require all companies with 100 or more employees to verify that their workforce is fully vaccinated. Employees who are not vaccinated will have to submit to weekly COVID-19 tests, at their expense, to stay in compliance.

Starbucks’s new COVID-19 workplace policy is in line with what the Biden administration has outlined. The company announced that all of its 220,000 employees will have to disclose their vaccination status by January 10, per CNN. 

“This is an important step we can take to help more partners get vaccinated, limit the spread of Covid-19, and create choices that partners can own based on what’s best for them…. My hope is that we will all do our part to protect one another,” Starbucks chief operating officer John Culver wrote in a letter that was initially sent to employees on December 27, and then reiterated on Monday in a weekly update, according to Reuters.

Starbucks is the latest company to issue a vaccine policy among a growing list of employers. CVS, Walgreens, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Uber, Lyft, and McDonald’s already have vaccine requirements in place, according to NBC.

What will count as “fully vaccinated” by employers and by the government may change as the omicron variant continues to drive a huge spike in case rates. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines the fully vaccinated population as those who have received two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or the single Johnson & Johnson shot. As of January, roughly 70% of the population over the age of five is fully vaccinated, while 33% of those people have also received a booster shot.


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