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Starbucks could soon close restrooms again for non-paying customers, CEO says

Posted at 1:28 PM, Jun 10, 2022

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told the New York Times this week that the company could soon reverse its policy that allows non-paying customers to use its restrooms.

The policy allowing non-paying customers use of its facilities has been in place since 2018 when a Starbucks employee called the police when two non-paying visitors were denied use of its restrooms at a Philadelphia location. Amid allegations of racial bias over its previous policy, Starbucks required employees to undergo cultural sensitivity training.

"We don't want to become a public bathroom, but we're going to make the right decision 100% of the time and give people the key because we don't want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom because you are less than. We want you to be more than," Schultz said at the Atlantic Council in Washington in 2018.

Schultz said safety and his employees’ mental health are concerns under its current policy.

“We have to harden our stores and provide safety for our people,” Schultz told the New York Times. “I don’t know if we can keep our bathrooms open.”