Starbucks workers in the US will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by February 9 or face an obligation to undergo weekly diagnostic tests.
The Seattle-based coffee giant said Monday that the move is in response to vaccination or testing requirements issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in November for companies with more than 100 employees.
The requirement, which has faced numerous lawsuits, was approved last month by a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court. The Supreme Court is due to review the request on Friday.
Starbucks has asked its 228,000 US employees to disclose their immunization status by January 10.
“I recognize that colleagues have a wide range of opinions about vaccines, as does the rest of the country,” John Colfer, Starbucks’ chief operating officer, said in a letter sent to employees in late December. “My responsibility, and that of all leaders, is to do everything we can to help keep them protected and create the safest work environment possible.”
Starbucks explained that a full vaccination means two injections of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one injection of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
If a Starbucks employee chooses to get tested every week, they will have to pay their own cost and take the test at a pharmacy, clinic, or other place where someone monitors the test.
The company said religious or medical considerations would be taken into account, but to work in a store, employees must undergo weekly testing.
Employees who test fail may use paid time to self-isolate. Starbucks has stated that it is offering employees two states of paid isolation, for up to five days each.
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