It feels like the post-holiday COVID spike is hitting everyone, and after two years of trying to get past this pandemic, many businesses are taking whatever precautions they can. It’s a hot debate, but Starbucks is clearly aligning with government recommendations. The coffee chain will require all employees to be fully vaccinated by February 9, and anyone who doesn’t get the shot will need to be tested weekly by a doctor or pharmacist, reports Reuters.
A federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandate now gives large employers until February 9 to have all employees fully vaccinated or tested weekly. The weekly testing, if an employee chooses to go that route, cannot be an at-home test and must be OSHA-approved. With the Omicron variant creating a rise in COVID cases, more and more people are also getting tested, which has led to longer waiting times for results as testing sites are overwhelmed. All of that combined makes it pretty obvious that being fully vaccinated is the best way to go.
Starbucks employees in cafes, offices, and manufacturing facilities will all have to comply with the new mandate, reports The Wall Street Journal. Although Starbucks employees were previously encouraged to share their vaccination status on a voluntary basis, workers will now need to inform their employer by January 10. These new requirements were communicated to employees via a message from Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver. “My responsibility, and that of every leader, is to do whatever we can to help keep you safe and to create the safest work environment possible,” Culver wrote.
Starbucks may be one of the first restaurant chains to comply with this federal mandate, but hopefully others follow suit. Two years in, we can’t deny the impact the pandemic continues to have on everyone’s life, and the vaccine is the best bet for minimizing that impact.