In an unprecedented response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Starbucks has announced that they will be paying its U.S. and Canadian employees for the next month, whether they work or not.
"No Starbucks partner needs to choose between their health and coming to work," the company said in a letter to employees.
Even under lockdowns occurring across the country, Frappuccinos and Lattes were deemed essential during this pandemic crisis, and kept the chain's doors open.
That didn't sit well with Starbucks employees, as they kept their doors open and still had fairly unchanged interactions with customers.
Many voiced their displeasure with the company's initial move to let customers in the store, and additionally, letting employees work up until they felt they had the virus symptoms.
Applying to Starbucks I didn’t realize I signed up for the draft.— Angelic✨ (@AngelEnergy__) March 20, 2020
In response, Starbucks is now drive-thru-only for two weeks, where applicable, and even letting those employees stay home if need be, until April 19.
As far as employees of closing stores that don't have the benefit of being drive-thru, Starbucks is extending its "catastrophe pay."
Starbucks' catastrophe pay is in place for emergencies, and is meant to protect employees during natural disasters, and in this case, pandemics.
Things had reached a boiling point, with many Starbucks employees drowning Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and anywhere they could voice their concerns with cries to close the store completely.
If you're wondering why the heck anyone would come into work under these new guidelines, well, Starbucks also announced that working employees will be earning an additional $3 per hour than normal.
There's still a debate about how "essential" Starbucks is at this time, but they've certainly done more to protect their customers and employees than any other major chain during this pandemic.