After an incident in Philadelphia, Starbucks implemented an open policy when it comes to using its cafes and bathrooms. But a rise in crime has Starbucks closing restrooms – and entire stores – in some locations across the country.
A Center City Philadelphia Starbucks — located at 10th and Chestnut Street — is among those being closed permanently due to safety concerns.
In all, 16 Starbucks nationwide are being shut down including six each in Los Angeles and Seattle.
Locations in Washington D.C. and Portland, Oregon will also close.
This comes after workers reported incidents related to drug use by customers and the public in the cafes.
Starbucks also announced they are taking other steps to keep conditions safe at their remaining cafés, including giving local management the authority to close bathrooms.
Starbucks said it would transfer employees to other locations.
It was in April 2018, when two Black men were arrested at a Center City Starbucks while waiting for a business associate.
One of the men had been denied the use of a restroom because he hadn’t bought anything at the store. A worker called police and both men were taken into custody. They were jailed for hours before being released.
In the wake of the arrests, Starbucks closed more than 8,000 of its U.S. stores for a day for racial-bias training for its employees. The company also made its cafe seating and restrooms open to the public.
The men who were arrested settled with Starbucks for an undisclosed sum and an offer of a free college education. They also reached a deal with Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from city officials to set up a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.
CEO Howard Schultz wrote a letter to Starbucks partners that was published on the company’s website on Monday about the business’ future.
“Today, we find ourselves in a position where we must modernize and transform the Starbucks experience in our stores and recreate an environment that is relevant, welcoming and safe, and where we uplift one another with dignity, respect and kindness. We need to reinvent Starbucks for the future. And to be successful, it will take our collective courage to begin again,” Schultz said.
Philadelphia city officials are hoping Starbucks will reconsider this decision and open even additional shops in the area.
“Starbucks don’t you dare give up on the city of Philadelphia. We are working together, making the public health of our city our number one priority. We want you here and we need you here,” said Councilmember Cherelle Parker.