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Coronavirus: No sitting at Starbucks as chain becomes 'to-go only' operation

The Seattle-based chain has announced a huge change in response to coronavirus.

There will be no more sitting inside Starbucks for at least the next two weeks, as the coffee chain announced a major change to its business model in response to the coronavirus.

Starting on Sunday, the company has paused the use of "all seating, including both the café and patio areas," to reduce the close quarters mixing of customers.

Customers can still walk up and order at the counter, through its app and through drive thru windows.

It also says it is modifying its condiment bars and the "order ahead" handoff areas on a store-by-store basis, while stores in high-social gathering locations – such as malls and university campuses – will shut down altogether for the next two weeks.

There will also be temporary closures of stores in areas with clusters of COVID-19 cases.

"As we all know, the situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary to protect our partners, customers and communities,” wrote Rossann Williams, executive vice president and president of Starbucks' U.S. company-operated business and Canada.

"Every community’s needs are incredibly different. We want to make sure we play a constructive role by taking responsible actions, in partnership with the CDC and local public health authorities, so we can continue to do what’s right for our partners and customers."

Other major retailers making announcements related to COVID-19 includes Nike, which is temporarily closing all of its own-brand stores, with Patagonia doing the same.

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