03/16/2020 09:06 EDT | Updated 03/16/2020 16:05 EDT

Starbucks Shifts To 'To-Go' Sales Only, Pulls Tables From Restaurants

The coffee chain will also close locations in malls, universities and virus hot spots.


(Reuters) ― Starbucks Corp. has moved to a “to go” model in all its company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada for at least two weeks to facilitate social distancing among customers amid the spread of coronavirus, the coffee chain said on Sunday.

As part of the move, Starbucks said it would also stop using seating both at its cafe and patio areas and temporarily close stores in communities with high numbers of coronavirus cases as well as malls and university campuses.

“The situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary,” said Rossann Williams, president of U.S. company-operated and Canada businesses.

The company had earlier stopped accepting reusable cups and thermos flasks from customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa after announcing a similar policy in the United States.

The virus has infected over 169,000 people globally and killed more than 6,500.

 (Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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