Starbucks said it will provide its baristas with active shooter training as the coffee giant grapples with a surge in crime across big cities nationwide.
It is unclear what specific incident prompted the company to adopt the policy. The Post has sought comment from Starbucks.
Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Seattle-based chain would shutter 16 of its restaurants — six in Seattle, six others in and around Los Angeles, two in Portland, Ore., one in Philadelphia, and one in Washington, DC.
Each of those cities has experienced a surge in crime since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles has seen more people killed by guns during the first six months of 2022 than during the same period in any of the past 15 years, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
In Washington, DC, there have already been 93 homicides compared to the 82 in its first six months of 2021, or a 13% jump.
The closures were prompted by employee complaints that the areas were becoming too dangerous as drug users were using the chain’s bathroom facilities while customers and workers also reported instances of theft, assault, and other crimes.
The company responded by giving store managers discretion to deny free access to the store’s bathrooms, which are open to the public as per corporate policy, according to the Seattle Times.
Last month, Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz said the company was rethinking its “open bathroom” policy due to mounting concerns about public safety.
The new safety measures also include guidance to baristas on how to deal with an active shooter situation as well as training on conflict de-escalation, according to Fortune.
“You’re seeing firsthand the challenges facing our communities — personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use, and more,” US operations leads Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson told the company’s US-based employees.
“With stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores too. We read every incident report you file — it’s a lot.”
In April, a 23-year-old woman was arrested for the fatal shooting of her child’s grandmother, 52, at a Starbucks in Richardson, Texas.
Last year, a man was shot to death while sitting in his car at a Starbucks drive-thru in the Exposition Park section of Los Angeles.
Two of the stores in Seattle that are closing have been unionized while one restaurant in Portland has petitioned to unionize, according to the Journal.
Starbucks workers at more than 130 locations nationwide have voted to unionize while scores of others are in the process of doing so. There are more than 9,000 locations across North America.
Pro-union activists have accused the company of intentionally shuttering stores as a punitive measure to retaliate against organized labor.