Starbucks Bans Personal, Reusable Cups Until Further Notice Over Coronavirus Fears

'[We are] pausing the use of personal cups and 'for here' ware in our store,' a company executive wrote.

a woman drinks from a starbucks cup
JESHOOTS-com / Pixabay

'[We are] pausing the use of personal cups and 'for here' ware in our store,' a company executive wrote.

Starbucks announced this week that it will not fill the cups of customers who bring in their own from home until further notice, USA Today reports. It’s one of many steps the coffee retailer is taking in order to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Customers who patronize Starbucks know that the chain offers a 10 cent discount to anyone who brings in their own reusable cup. Following the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra, the coffee house offers customers an incentive to use their own cups instead of the disposable ones the store offers in order to produce less waste and reduce their carbon footprint.

Similarly, customers can also make use of that discount by using “for here” cups in the store — that is, having their drink served in a ceramic mug rather than a disposable cup, on the condition that it’s used in the building.

However, both of those options are now unavailable until further notice in an effort to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In an open letter posted on the company’s website, Executive Vice President Rossann Williams wrote that customers will have to use disposable cups until further notice.

“[We are] pausing the use of personal cups and ‘for here’ ware in our store,” the letter read.

Williams also noted that customers can still get their dime discount by bringing in their own reusable cup or asking for “for here” ware in the store, even though the drinks won’t actually be served in those cups.

a starbucks cup
  Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

Outside of the new policies on dishes, the company is also rolling out a few other programs to curtail the spread of the virus.

For example, employees will be further instructed to thoroughly clean and sanitize all stores and those whose job requires them to travel are grounded until March 31 at the earliest.

In the company’s hometown of Seattle, a shareholder event that was originally scheduled for March 18 has been reworked into a virtual-only event. A cluster of coronavirus cases has emerged in Washington state, with 10 reported deaths so far.

“Our focus remains on two key priorities: Caring for the health and well-being of our partners and customers and playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the virus,” Williams wrote.

Elsewhere in her letter, Williams noted that she and her team are “optimistic” that the restrictions are only temporary.

Starbucks has already closed half of its locations in China, where the coronavirus first gained global attention. Some of those locations have since reopened, however.