Customers boycott Starbucks after coffee chain reverses vaccine mandate for workers

Coffee giant Starbucks has come under severe criticism after it suspended its coronavirus vaccine and testing mandates for US employees.

In a 6-3 vote on 13 January, the US Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s vaccination-or-testing mandate for businesses with more than 100 workers, as it ruled that the policy overstepped executive authority.

Following this, Starbucks reversed its earlier decision directing its 220,000-strong workforce to either get fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo weekly testing.

But this was not well received online, with #BoycottStarbucks trending on Twitter.

“I’m very disappointed to see that Starbucks has decided to cave to the Anti-vaxxers. I guess I’ll be getting my coffee elsewhere. #BoycottStarbucks,” wrote one user.

“No more Staubucks for me. I’m very disappointed in their decision. I don’t need someone coughing in my caffe macchiato, thanks. #BoycottStarbucks,” wrote another user.

Some users supported the company’s decision to do away with its vaccine mandate, however.

“In honor of Starbucks rescinding the vaccine mandate for employees, I’m going to sit at a Starbucks w/ my ‘Joe Biden left Americans behind in Afghanistan’ laptop,” said conservative activist Scott Presler.

Author Brigitte Gabriel wrote: “Democrats are now threatening to #BoycottStarbucks because they nixed their vaccine mandate for employees. They didn’t do it because they’re all of a sudden conservative, they did it because they can’t find employees.”

“Democrats are sick in the head, they don’t want to move on,” the author added.

In a company memo on Tuesday, Starbucks CEO John Culver cited the recent Supreme Court decision and said: “We respect the court’s ruling and will comply.” He also encouraged everyone to get their vaccines and booster shots.

“I want to emphasise that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” Mr Culver added. “Thank you to the more than 90 percent of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated.”

“The vaccine is the best option we have, by far, when it comes to staying safe and slowing the spread of Covid-19,” Mr Culver had said on 3 January while putting in place the vaccine rule at the company.

“We strongly encourage all US partners to get fully vaccinated by Feb 9,” Mr Culver wrote then. “If you are not fully vaccinated, you can choose weekly testing starting Feb 9.”

That deadline had not even arrived yet when Starbucks dropped the requirement.

A spokesperson for Starbucks told The Independent that this was not a reversal, because Starbucks had not created the original policy – they said it had simply followed the rules set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was struck down by the Supreme Court.


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