Thousands of Starbucks closing this afternoon for anti-bias training

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – If you’re in need of an afternoon caffeine boost, you may want to skip your local Starbucks.

More than 8,000 of the coffee chain’s locations will close at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday for anti-bias training. Starbucks found itself in the national spotlight after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia location last month.

Video of the arrests went viral. The store manager called police saying the men didn’t buy anything and refused to leave. One of the men asked to use the bathroom and was told only paying customers could do so. The men spent a few hours in jail and were eventually released without any charges being filed.

They were at the coffee shop waiting to meet a third individual about a potential real estate deal. Starbucks apologized to them and set up a meeting with the company’s CEO. The company also consulted experts to put together a bias training program for its 175,000 workers.

According to a news release from the company, the training will focus on “understanding racial bias and the history of public accommodations in the United States.” Starbucks said the training is the first step in establishing a foundation for “a longer-term Starbucks anti-bias, diversity, equity and inclusion effort.”

The chain said all company-operated Starbucks locations would close, while thousands of licensed stores—such as those found at grocery stores, universities, hotels or airports—would likely remain open.

Find your local Starbucks here. Stores participating in the training will say “open until 2:30 p.m.”

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