Starbucks has ended their vaccine requirement for US-based employees after the Supreme Court blocked President Joe Biden’s mandate for large companies.
Last week, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to reject the Biden administration’s mandatory vaccine or regular COVID testing requirements for companies with over 100 employees.
On January 3, Starbucks had announced that they would be requiring all employees to be vaccinated by February 9 or have to undergo weekly COVID tests. Workers had to reveal their vaccination status to the company by January 10. At the time, the company said that the “vaccine is the best option we have, by far, when it comes to staying safe and slowing the spread of COVID-19.”
However, Starbucks responded to the Supreme Court’s ruling by scrapping the requirement in a memo to employees on Tuesday.
“We respect the court’s ruling and will comply,” Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote in the memo, obtained by the Associated Press. He added that the company still “strongly” encourages vaccines and booster shots. Additionally, employees have been informed that they should wear medical-grade surgical masks at work instead of cloth masks.
The AP reports that Starbucks is one of the most high profile companies to overturn their previous mandate after the ruling. “Many other big companies, including Target, have been mum on their plans,” the report noted.
The company has said that the “vast majority” of their employees are fully vaccinated, but would not provide exact numbers.
Starbucks has approximately 228,000 employees in the United States.