Starbucks disclosed late Friday that an employee at a Seattle store has tested positive for coronavirus, marking the coffeehouse chain’s first confirmed case of the illness in its workforce.
Starbucks said it first learned of the case late Thursday and immediately closed the store to conduct a “deep clean” as recommended by city and public health officials. The sick employee is currently recovering in self-quarantine.
“These officials have encouraged us to reopen the store after further preventative cleaning, which we have already conducted, staffed by partners who have no known impact from COVID-19,” Starbucks executive vice president Rossann Williams said in a letter to staffers. “We look forward to welcoming our customers back very soon so we can continue to be their Third Place.”
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Like many U.S. businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, Starbucks has enacted preventative measures to protect employees. The company has all business travel through March 31, postponed large meetings and informed store employees to pause use of reusable cups for the time being.
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There were at least 244 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. as of Friday afternoon. Washington state is among the areas hit hardest by the outbreak, reporting at least 70 individual cases and 11 deaths. In Seattle, tech giants Facebook and Twitter closed offices Thursday and Friday. Earlier in the week an Amazon employee at the company’s Seattle headquarters has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus and is now quarantined.
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Starbucks said earlier this week that the outbreak in China, where coronavirus originated, has had a significant negative impact on its operations in the country. The company said it expects same-store sales in China to decline by 50 percent in the second quarter, reducing expected revenue in the region by up to $430 million.
Starbucks said it does not expect the coronavirus outbreak to have a material impact on its U.S. business.
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