In a letter issued March 15 to all Starbucks employees in Canada, the coffee chain announced it will be shifting all its locations to a "to go" model on a temporary basis, as the nation grapples with the COVID-19 crisis.
"We are removing all seating, including all café and patio seating," wrote Lori Digulla, president of Starbucks Canada.
The shift to the "to go" only model will be complete by Wednesday across Canada.
With the change to the "to go" model, stores will see further modifications, including changes in its cash-handling procedures and other methods of payment between the customer and employee. There will also be modifications to the in-store condiment bars.
Starbucks Canada says it has learned from its experiences in China, and that "these are the actions we know are effective."
The "to go" model will last at least two weeks, says Starbucks. During that time, customers may still use Mobile Order and Pay, as well as the drive-thru windows.
"This decision was not made lightly as we know the important role our stores play in service of our communities and how our customers enjoy our seating as an important part of their daily lives," added Digulla.
Some company-operated Starbucks locations in Canada, however, will close down all operations temporarily. Those locations are in "high-social gathering locations like stores that are located inside malls or on university campuses," said the coffee chain.
Additionally, expect reduced operating hours or closures in any Canadian area where there are high clusters of COVID-19 cases.
To help their employees, Starbucks says workers may access their Catastrophe Pay program if they are directly affected by COVID-19. The company has also invested $10 million into the company’s financial emergency CUP Fund, and other resources globally to support partners’ needs beyond pay.