Coffee-chain giant Starbucks is turning away customers’ own coffee cups in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus within the United States.
There’s no sign if the Australian arm of the company will follow suit – Starbucks’s Australian operation did not respond to The New Daily‘s request for comment, but it could be something other chains pick up, with a spokeswoman for The Coffee Club, Australia’s largest chain, saying the company had noted the policy change.
The spokeswoman told The New Daily the safety of customers and staff was the business’s number one concern, and it had adjusted some cleanliness procedures as a prevention measure against the virus.
“The Coffee Club will continue to offer “keep-cup” coffee refills and, as usual, these refills come with a 50c discount,” she said.
Back in the US, Starbucks’ executive vice-president detailed the company’s move in a blog post, saying it fed into a countrywide plan to combat coronavirus.
“Our focus remains on two key priorities: Caring for the health and wellbeing of our partners and customers and playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the virus,” Rossann Williams wrote.
Starbucks was forced to close 4000 of its stores in China as the outbreak strangled the country.
On Friday, a form of artificial intelligence plotted the likely spread and death toll of the disease.
The modelling, published in The Conversation, predicts that by March 13, there will be 3913 fatalities and 116,250 confirmed cases worldwide.
By the end of the month, this tracking method sets the confirmed cases at 150,000-plus, with more than 4500 fatalities.