Starbucks Considers Closing Restrooms to General Public Over Safety Concerns

Starbucks may end a four-year-old policy of opening its bathrooms to non-customers, according to its acting CEO.

Four years ago, the company responded to an incident at a Philadelphia store by embracing a policy that allowed anyone to come in and sit anywhere they wanted or use a restroom.

But times have changed, according to Howard Schultz, a former CEO who has returned to lead the company on a temporary basis, according to The New York Times.

“We serve 100 million people at Starbucks,” Schultz said during remarks at a New York Times DealBook D.C. policy forum on Thursday.

“There is an issue of just safety in our stores in terms of people coming in who use our stores as a public bathroom,” he said.

Schultz said that the current state of affairs cannot continue.

“We have to harden our stores and provide safety for our people,” he said. “I don’t know if we can keep our bathrooms open.”

Schultz had painted the 2018 action as a way to make everyone feel happy.

“We don’t want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom because you are ‘less than,’” he said then. “We want you to be ‘more than.’”

Schultz said the change would be a major culture shift.

“Starbucks is trying to solve a problem and face a problem that is the government’s responsibility,” Schultz said.

Schultz said that businesses have to do more to protect employees because the government is not doing so.

“What I realize more and more is that the government is no longer going to solve any of these problems,” Schultz said.

Business executives “have to do more for our people,” he said.

Schultz also said he sees no role for unions at Starbucks, according to the Seattle Times.

“We don’t believe that a third party should lead our people,” Schultz said.

Schultz said the issue over unions goes beyond Starbucks.

“What’s happening in America is bigger than Starbucks,” Schultz said. “Starbucks, unfortunately, happens to be the proxy.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.