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Starbucks to require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly tests for all American employees

As of February 9, all Starbucks workers in the U.S. will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing, keeping with a federal mandate.

The new comes as the omicron variant has continued to spread across the country, even infecting vaccinated and boosted people. 

Chief Operating Officer of Starbucks John Culver told the domestic workforce of the company, which includes roughly 220,000 employees, that they would need to disclose their vaccination status by January 10.

The new rules were first communicated to staff in a December 27 letter, but the information was also reiterated in Monday’s edition of the weekly update.

“The vaccine is the best option we have, by far, when it comes to staying safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Culver. “It’s concerning to see this new variant has pushed daily COVID-19 case counts higher than the Delta wave at its peak.” 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) section of the Labor Department set February 9 as its new date by which large employers must require complete immunization or weekly testing of the coronavirus for their workers.

The mandate was originally scheduled to take effect January 4, however OSHA suspended enforcement pending a court hearing of challenges to the measure. Although the Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments regarding the case on Friday, a federal appeals court ruled last week that the OSHA enforcement of the mandate could proceed. 

Under Starbucks’ new policy, workers who choose not to get vaccinated are forced to purchase their own OSHA-approved tests and submit their results every week.

Starbucks also updated its company policy on the length of time for which employees should isolate after testing positive for COVID-19, keeping in line with new guidance from the CDC that shortened the recommended time. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: DETROIT NEWS

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