The world’s biggest seller of coffee is temporarily forbidding customers from bringing their own reusable mugs because of fears that they could help spread the coronavirus.
Starbucks said in a release on Wednesday that it is instituting a number of new policies to handle the virus that has so far infected almost 100,000 people around the world and killed more than 2,000.
Among the new policies is a temporary halt to the reusable mugs that the chain has been encouraging customers to use to try to mitigate the environmental damage of disposable ones.
“We are pausing the use of personal cups and ‘for here’ ware in our stores,” an open letter from the Seattle-based chain’s executive vice-president Rossann Williams said.
Canadian locations are included in the new policy.
Starbucks has a policy of offering a 10-cent discount to any customers who bring in their own mug. The chain says it will still honour that discount, but the customer will just be given a disposable mug instead. The chain did not offer any details as to how long the policy would be in place.
The chain also says it will be stepping up its cleaning and sanitizing in all its stores and has cancelled all large-scale meetings between employees until the end of March. It has also cancelled all business-related travel.