We Finally Know When Starbucks Plans To Reopen

The familiar coffee shop experience of lounging in comfy chairs and sipping a latte while other patrons work on laptops and mingle about is non-existent in just about every corner of the United States today. We all know why Starbucks is taking orders strictly through the drive-thru-only and has changed its policy on reusable cups, but it doesn't make the coffee experience any less strange.  The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't only upended just about every aspect of daily life for Starbucks' customers and all Americans, but it's had a pretty bad financial impact on the company as well. 

The big question on everyone's mind is when is this mask-wearing-social-distancing-lockdown nightmare going to be over? The day when coffee fans can stroll into a Starbucks and order a caramel Frappuccino has to be somewhere on the horizon, doesn't it? Well, according to Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, that day is hopefully sometime in June (via Business Insider).

Safety options will be put in place as stores reopen

In a letter to Starbucks employees, Johnson acknowledged the effect of social distancing in helping to flatten the curve. "This is prompting many to define the next steps that will appropriately prioritize health concerns while, at the same time, take thoughtful and measured steps to serve our communities," he further explained.

The Starbucks CEO is hopeful that June will see the company's stores resume normal operations. That said, Johnson acknowledged that he wants Starbucks to  "exceed public health requirements" when stores do reopen. There will also likely be post-pandemic options in place such as at-home delivery, curbside pickup, entry-way pickup, and contactless service. That's not exactly what most people would call "normal operations." Perhaps "new normal operations" is a better fit. 

Johnson, who has been tapped by President Trump to strategize with other restaurant industry leaders in the "Great American Economic Revival Industry Group," said that financial decisions must come "secondary to the health and well-being of our partners and customers."

U.S. Starbucks locations will be slower to open than China's stores

The plans for reopening U.S. Starbucks cafes seem to be operating on a slower timeline than what followed for the company's stores in China. The coffee giant closed over 2,000 of its China locations in late January before the coronavirus began wreaking havoc in the U.S. (via NPR). Almost exactly a month later, however, CNBC reported that 85 percent of its China cafes had reopened. 

Considering that Starbucks began operating on a drive-thru-only basis in mid-March, if it doesn't open its cafes until June 1st, that will be nearly month and a half slower than China's stores opened. Tough luck, coffee fans. 

U.S. employees have had the option of staying home with pay or coming to work and making an extra $3 an hour, but starting May 3, employees who are healthy will be required to come in for work. The $3 pay bump, though, is expected to continue through May.