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Starbucks scraps vaccine requirement following Supreme Court decision

In a letter published on January 4, the coffee company recommended that its workers get vaccinated by February 9, in accordance with guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Those who remained unvaccinated past that deadline would have had to submit to weekly testing, according to that early January note.

But after the SCOTUS decision, Starbucks told employees that it would adjust its requirements.

"We respect the Court's ruling and will comply," John Culver, chief operating officer and group president for North America at Starbucks, said in a Tuesday message to employees.

In practical terms, that means workers no longer have to be vaccinated by the company's February 9 deadline, and they will not have to be tested weekly.

A Starbucks employee hands a customer an order from a drive-thru window in April 2020.
In his note, Culver added that Starbucks (SBUX) will follow local requirements, and that the company still encourages workers to get vaccinated and boosted.

He also encouraged workers to disclose their vaccination status, and said that over 90% of workers have already done so. The majority of the company's workers are now fully vaccinated, he added.

Following last week's decision, Biden said he is "disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law."

Without the national vaccine mandate, large businesses are charting their own course. General Electric (GE) said last week that it is suspending its testing and vaccine requirements following the ruling, Bloomberg reported.
Starbucks also told workers this week that they have to wear 3-ply medical masks at work, following the CDC's updated guidance. Employees can also wear N95, KN95 or KF94 masks, but can no longer wear cloth masks (unless they cover medical masks).

- CNN's Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.


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