Starbucks will require face masks at all company-owned stores in the U.S.

Nation/World

CORTE MADERA, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 10: A Starbucks worker prepares to clean the door at a Starbucks Coffee store on June 10, 2020 in Corte Madera, California. Starbucks announced plans to close 400 of its company owned cafes over the next 18 months as the coffee shop chain estimates losing over $3 billion due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Starbucks will start requiring customers to wear facial coverings or masks in all 9,000 of its company-owned American stores beginning July 15.

The mandate is part of Starbucks’ “continued effort in prioritizing the health and well-being” of its employees and customers during the pandemic, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Requiring a facial covering or mask supersedes local laws in some states or cities that might not require wearing one. Starbucks said customers who refuse to wear a mask inside can order from the drive-thru, curbside pickup or delivery.

Starbucks has made its cafe employees wear a mask or facial covering since April as part of broader changes it implemented to safeguard against Covid-19.

“The company is committed to playing a constructive role in supporting health and government officials as they work to mitigate the spread of Covid-19,” Starbucks said in the statement.

Although no nationwide mandate to wear a mask exists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says everyone “should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.” The CDC said that “face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms.”

Facial coverings or mask requirements have become a political football, leading to a patchwork of mandates across various states. Roughly 20 states and Washington, DC, have a statewide mask mandate, while several, including in new hotspots Arizona and Florida, do not.

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