A Starbucks spokesperson declined to discuss specific incidents. Starbucks has closed several locations nationwide due to safety concerns. The company has stated that the reasons for these closures include racism, lack of access to health care, and personal safety concerns. Employees affected by these closures will be offered transfer opportunities to another location. This report was prepared with the assistance of CNN Business’ Chris Isidore and Ramishah Maruf.
The company has announced several initiatives to address the problems. First, it will expand the scope of its training programs to help employees recognize potential safety issues. Starbucks will also offer mental health and active shooter training. Employees who were working in locations with higher incidents will be relocated to neighboring stores. The company also intends to install restroom occupancy sensors and test new alarm systems in the affected locations.
Additionally, the company has given local managers the authority to close restrooms and transfer employees to other cafes. This decision comes after two black men were arrested at a Center City Starbucks in April 2018. The employees had refused them access to a restroom and called police. The men were detained for several hours before being released. The two men were ultimately paid $1,800 each.
Among the locations affected by these closings are the downtown Los Angeles location near the police department. This area has seen a dramatic rise in homeless encampments in recent years. Starbucks has more than 34,000 locations worldwide. The closures are part of a larger response to safety concerns raised by employees. Starbucks executives say that stores aren’t immune to the growing mental health and drug epidemic.
Starbucks denies that two of the stores which were recently unionized were closed because of that action, insisting that it was due to safety.