Starbucks has announced that the company will close at least 16 stores citing ongoing safety issues.
A company spokesperson said, "After careful consideration, we are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate."
Starbucks will close stores in Oregon, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Seattle by the end of July, CNN reported.
In a letter to employees, Starbucks leadership said that their employees are "seeing firsthand the challenges facing our communities, personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use, and more," the company said. The statement went on to say that "with stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores too."
Two Starbucks Senior Vice Presidents, Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson, said that while they read "every incident report" that stores file, they said, "it's a lot."
Among some new policy changes in the company is an overturning of a 2018 bathroom policy where stores can now close restrooms to the public if the store chooses.
Starbucks' interim CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a recent letter, "We need to reinvent Starbucks for the future," and said that it must be done so "radically."