Jan. 20, 2022 -- Starbucks will no longer require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly – a response to last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for large businesses.
“We respect the court’s ruling and will comply,” Starbucks CDO John Culver wrote in a Tuesday memo to employees, according to The Associated Press.
The memo encourages employees to get vaccinated and boosted and says they should wear medical-grade surgical masks to work now, with no cloth masks allowed.
The company said on Jan. 3 that it would require employees to be vaccinated by Feb. 9 or be tested weekly, in line with the Biden administration’s vaccinate-or-test mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees.
States and business groups mounted legal challenges and on Jan. 13 the Supreme Court struck down the administration mandate by a 6-3 vote, while not going so far as to prohibit businesses from imposing their own mandates. The court also allowed a mandate for health care workers with a 5-4 vote.
Starbucks is the first major corporation to respond to the Supreme Court ruling, The Associated Press said. Other big companies haven’t acted yet.
Starbucks earlier this month said workers would have to reveal their vaccine status by Jan. 10. Starbucks said 90% of employees have reported their status and the “vast majority” are fully vaccinated, while not providing a percentage, The Associated Press said.
The company employs about 228,000 people.