Coronavirus pushes some Starbucks locations to move products behind the counter

The coffee chain has been taking what it dubs 'courageous' and 'proactive actions'

Starbucks counters, once stacked with straws, stirs and sugar packets, are now empty in some stores.

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The products are now behind cash registers as locations ramp up safety precautions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

An employee of a Starbucks located in Midtown Manhattan told FOX Business that workers are being told to hand out the products instead of letting customers grab them from containers on the counter.

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This is not a company-wide policy, but some individual stores are instituting this safety measure, Starbucks confirmed to FOX Business Thursday.

Starbucks (Photo: Daniella Genovese/FOX Business)

Over the course of the past 10 days, the coffee house has been taking what it dubs "courageous" and "proactive actions" as public health officials struggle to contain the outbreak which has infected at least 118,381 people worldwide and killed at least 4,292.

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A Starbucks Seattle store employee tested positive for the virus earlier this month, marking the chain's first confirmed case of the illness in its workforce.

(Photo: Daniella Genovese/FOX Business)

"We appreciate your understanding that, as a customer, your Starbucks Experience may look different as we navigate through this time together," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in an updated letter to customers and employees Wednesday night. "While we are currently maintaining regular operations across the U.S. and Canada, our stores are prepared to modify operations with options that still allow us to serve you your favorite beverage and food."

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(Photo: Daniella Genovese/FOX Business)

Johnson says while the company is currently maintaining regular operations throughout the United States and Canada, stores are "prepared to modify operations with options" which will still allow baristas to serve up food and drinks.

To combat fears of transmission of the disease, which has been declared a global pandemic, the coffeehouse chain implemented additional safety precautions including pausing the use of cambros which are reusable coffee dispensers. The company also gave employees guidance on the use of gloves, informed employees on how to order extra hand sanitizer and how to best grind whole bean coffee.

Prior to those measures being taken, the chain increased cleaning and sanitizing at all its stores and paused the use of customers' personal cups and reusable tableware in its stores and sampling, Rossann Williams, who leads Starbucks' retail operations in the United States and Canada, wrote in an open letter.

Starbucks also restricted business-related air travel through March 31 and modified or postponed plans for large meetings across the United States and Canadian offices, according to Williams.

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Starbucks says it continues to be as transparent as possible both with its employees and the surrounding communities in regard to the steps they are taking.

"Since we first began navigating COVID-19, our goal has been to lead with partner care, transparency and decision-making based on facts and science," Williams previously said. "Our commitment is to always do what’s best for you, our customers and our communities."

This comes as other retailers are trying to keep business thriving as typical customers grow increasingly worried about catching the virus.

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