Starbucks may close bathrooms to non-paying public, Schultz says

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Starbucks may be changing its policy of allowing non-customers to use the restroom at its stores, CEO Howard Schultz reportedly said Thursday.

Starbucks opened its bathrooms to the public in 2018. That came after an incident involving two Black men in Philadelphia who were arrested while waiting to meet someone on business inside a Starbucks.

“We don’t want to become a public bathroom,” Schultz said in 2018, according to the Associated Press, “but we’re going to make the right decision a hundred percent of the time and give people the key.”

But on Thursday, Schultz told the New York Times DealBook D.C. policy forum that the chain may walk back the policy, The Hill reports.

“There is an issue of just safety in our stores, in terms of people coming in, who use our stores as a public bathroom, and we have to provide a … safe environment for our people and our customers,” Schultz reportedly said.

The comments reportedly came during a discussion on mental health, something Schultz said to be a No. 1 issue for the company.

When asked how Starbucks plans to deal with it, Schultz reportedly said it would involve employee training, hardening of stores and ““I don’t know if we can keep our bathrooms open.”

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