New York, March 16, 2020 – Starbucks Corp has moved to a “to go” model in all its company-owned stores in the United States and Canada for at least two weeks to facilitate social distancing among customers amid the spread of coronavirus, the coffee chain said on Sunday.

As part of the move, Starbucks said it would also stop using seating both at its cafe and patio areas and temporarily close stores in communities with high numbers of coronavirus cases as well as malls and university campuses.

“The situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary,” said Rossann Williams, president of U.S. company-operated and Canada businesses

The company had earlier stopped accepting reusable cups and thermos flasks from customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa after announcing a similar policy in the United States.

The virus has infected over 169,000 people globally and killed more than 6,500. – Reuters