Starbucks will no longer require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine or face weekly testing, it announced in a note to employees Tuesday.
The company previously planned to require employees to be vaccinated by Feb. 9, the Associated Press reported. “We respect the court’s ruling and will comply,” Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote, the AP reported. The memo encouraged vaccination and booster shots, and it told employees to wear surgical masks to work.
Starbucks, which employs 228,000 people in the U.S., said the vast majority of its employees are vaccinated, according to AP, but it did not release the exact vaccination rate.
The change in policy came six days after the Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, which would have forced private companies with more than 100 employees to require their workers to get vaccinated or face weekly testing for COVID-19. The decision does not block employers from enforcing their own vaccine requirements.
The court ruled 6-3 against the president’s mandate, explaining that the Labor Secretary does not have the authority to impose the mandate and that Congress should have to make such rules.
“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the Supreme Court wrote in its ruling. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented.
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