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Starbucks Rescinds Vaccine Requirement after Supreme Court Ruling


Starbucks Coffee restaurant | Image by martinrlee

In a 6-3 vote last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Biden administration’s plan to require vaccines or regular COVID testing at companies with more than 100 workers. In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, the coffee titan Starbucks said that they would be following suit with what the Court had established. 

“We respect the court’s ruling and will comply,” John Culver, the Chief Operating Officer for Starbucks. “I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate. Thank you to the more than 90% of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated.”

In the memo, Culver also said that Starbucks will continue to strongly encourage vaccines and booster shots. The company also said that employees should wear medical-grade surgical masks instead of cloth ones.

Originally, in a letter sent to Starbucks’ staff members on December 27, Culver said all 228,000 employees would need to reveal their vaccination status by January 10.

The company strongly recommended that employees get vaccinated by that date but offered weekly testing as an alternative route. These changes came after OSHA set a date of February 9 for large companies to require vaccinations or weekly testing.

Last week, the Supreme Court blocked the vaccine mandate from the Biden administration and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Organization). This allowed the requirement for certain health care workers to go into effect while also cutting off enforcement of a mandate for companies with 100 or more employees.

“Although COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most,” the Court said. “COVID-19 can and does spread at home, in schools, during sporting events, and everywhere else that people gather. That kind of universal risk is no different from the day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases.”

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