Starbucks forced to halt the use of personal cups at its stores because of coronavirus

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Environmentally conscious coffee lovers who bring their own mugs to buy fresh java at Starbucks won’t be able to do so for a while.

Starbucks on Wednesday announced it is temporarily suspending the use of personal cups and tumblers at its stores to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

EVP Rossann Williams said the company will continue to honor its 10-cent discount for anyone who brings in a personal cup or tumbler for coffee, even though customers can’t use them.

“We are optimistic this will be a temporary situation,” Williams said in an open letter posted on the company’s website.

Starbucks said it is also increasing the number of cleanings at all its company-operated stores and suspending business-related air travel, both domestic and international, for the rest of March according to Williams.

Large meetings at the company’s offices in the United States and Canada are being postponed or modified, the company said.

“We will continue to communicate with transparency and act courageously and responsibly to ensure the health and well-being of our partners and customers,” Williams said.

Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how long it is suspending the program. The Seattle-based coffee chain has given customers discounts for using their own cups for new purchases since 1985, according to the company’s website.

In 2010, Starbucks launched a campaign promoting the use of personal tumblers to reduce its paper trash output. The program has prevented millions of pounds of paper from ending up in landfills, the company said.

The CDC says the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to a virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

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