Face masks soon will no longer be up for debate at Starbucks. The company said Thursday that customers who come inside will be required to cover their faces as of July 15, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The rule will apply at all company-owned locations, Delish reports. "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. Until now, the company has just requested that masks be worn. In places where the government doesn't require masks, customers without one can use curbside pickup or have their order delivered, the company said, adding that workers' feedback was partly behind the decision.
Employees are put in the middle, per the Washington Post. Some Starbucks workers said their managers have told them to quit posting signs about masks and not speak to customers who aren't covering their face. A supervisor at a store in Los Angeles, which requires masks, said about 10% of people don't cover their faces, some of whom become angry when reminded. "It's already unfair that we have to work right now because we have bills to pay," she said, "and now you're going to put us in a compromising situation because you don’t want to wear a mask for 5 minutes? That's not cool." An employee at a New Jersey Starbucks said a customer responded by screaming about the mask mandate. When told the bathrooms were closed because of the pandemic, he urinated in front of the store, the employee said. The company declined to discuss the issue. (Read more Starbucks stories.)