Starbucks asks its staff in the US weekly vaccine or test

Starbucks workers in the United States will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by February 9 or face the obligation to submit to weekly diagnostic tests.

The Seattle-based coffee giant said Monday that the move is in response to a vaccination or testing requirement issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in November for companies with more than 100 employees.

The requirement, which has faced numerous lawsuits, was endorsed last month by a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court. The Supreme Court is scheduled to review the requirement on Friday.

Starbucks has asked its 228,000 U.S. employees to disclose their immunization status by January 10.

“I recognize that colleagues have a broad spectrum of opinions about vaccines, as does the rest of the country,” Starbucks chief operating officer John Culver said in a letter sent to employees in late December. “My responsibility, and that of all leaders, is to do everything we can to help keep them protected and create the safest work environment possible.”

Starbucks explained that full vaccination means two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If a Starbucks employee chooses to get tested each week, they will have to pay their own cost and get tested at a pharmacy, clinic, or other location where someone is observing the test.

Religious or medical considerations will be taken into account, but to work in a store, employees must undergo a weekly test, the company said.

Employees who test positive may use paid time to isolate themselves. Starbucks reported that it offers employees two instances of paid isolation, for up to five days each.

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