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Starbucks Is Backing off COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

With the rise in COVID-19 cases and there being a more relaxed approach to using the mask while there are little to no mandates being enforced, many companies are left in the middle on what to do. And it looks like Starbucks is making the decision to stop requiring its workers across the country to be fully vaccinated or take bi-weekly COVID-19 test screenings. This large corporation or coffee giant, if you will, made this clear on Tuesday, Jan. 18. The reason being for this stance? The latest Supreme Court hearing. 

According to The Associated Press, Starbucks recently made this notion clear to its employees in a direct memo that was sent out. The memo that was distributed by John Culver, the Chief Operating Officer for Starbucks, states, “We respect the court’s ruling and will comply.” The court’s ruling Starbucks’ is referring to in this memo is the one pertaining to the Biden Administration’s plan to make it a requirement for all companies with 100 employees or more to require full vaccinations against COVID-19 or regular COVID testing. The plan lost in a 6-3 court ruling.

This mandate would also require these large corporations with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off to get tested to go to work at companies’ and to receive vaccinations. These rules were initially announced back in September when POTUS Joe Biden and the Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had made these rules to stop the spread of this infectious virus, with there being up to 69.5 million cases according to Our World in Data

Starbucks’ releasing this memo to its employees comes as a shock to many considering that this company was just making it a requirement for its employees to be fully masked and ‘vaxxed’ to work. Now it is all being reversed and suspended until further notice. With over 228,000 employees just in the United States, Starbucks remains one of the most high-profile corporations that has made drastic changes to their COVID-19 restrictions.  

The initial mandate made by Starbucks was first established on Jan. 3, stating that it would require all its employees to be fully vaccinated by Feb. 9 or be forced to take weekly COVID screenings. This would all be under President Biden’s plan for large corporations to enforce vaccinations on their employees. Although Starbucks isn’t requiring its workers to be vaccinated, they are encouraging it. On Forbes Advisor, they have stated, “The coffee chain asked their workers to stop wearing cloth masks, but will instead provide medical-grade surgical masks. Culver said in the memo that Starbucks still strongly encourages vaccinations and booster shots.” Encouragements but no requirements are what this large corporation is leaning towards.  

Moreover, it looks like Starbucks isn’t the only corporation that has stepped away from its COVID-19 mandates. General Electric has officially suspended its vaccine mandate since the court ruling, last week. The company initially had made it mandatory for all its 56,000 employees to be fully vaccinated by Feb. 11. As these two leading corporations make changes to their mandates, there is more to see regarding the COVID-19 restrictions each industry is making to its employees.  

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