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Coronavirus vaccines and weekly testing are no longer on the menu of requirements for Starbucks employees in the U.S.
On Tuesday, the coffee chain told its staff of 228,000 that they are no longer required to be fully vaccinated or receive weekly testing, according to The New York Times. The policy change follows the Supreme Court's decision last week to block the Biden's administration's vaccine mandate for large employers. This order would have required companies with more than 100 workers to ensure that employees are either vaccinated against COVID, or wear a mask and be tested on a weekly basis.
"We respect the court's ruling and will comply," Starbucks' COO John Culver told baristas in a memo, the Associated Press reported. However, the executive stressed that the café still believes in every preventative measure in the fight against the viral disease.
"I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate," he added, per the Times.
Elsewhere in the letter, Culver said that over 90% of Starbucks' U.S. staff have shared their vaccination status, with "the vast majority" fully inoculated.
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A spokesperson for Starbucks confirmed the change to PEOPLE Thursday, reiterating that the company continues to encourage employees to get vaccinated and boosted. Workers will continue having access to self-isolation pay, vaccine pay, booster pay and side effect pay, they said.
In late December, the coffee chain told its U.S. staff that they had to get fully vaccinated by Feb. 9, or submit to weekly coronavirus testing, per the AP.
"I recognize that partners have a wide spectrum of views on vaccinations, much like the rest of the country," Culver wrote in a letter to employees, who the company calls partners. "My responsibility, and that of every leader, is to do whatever we can to help keep you safe and create the safest work environment possible."