Starbucks closes store after employee diagnosed with COVID-19

SEATTLE — In a letter to its store partners, Starbucks said Friday that it closed a downtown Seattle store because it learned late Thursday night that one of its store partners was diagnosed with COVID-19.

It is the 1st Avenue and University Street store.

According to the letter, the employee is in self-quarantine at home.

Starbucks officials said when they learned of the diagnosis, they activated protocols and immediately closed the store and initiated a deep clean, following the recommended guideline from Seattle - King County Public Health.

The store was encouraged to reopen by health officials after preventive cleaning was complete, which has already been done, according to Starbucks. It has also said that the store will be staffed by partners who have not been impacted by the coronavirus.

In the letter to its partners, Starbucks stated:

"Because this is our first confirmed case, we felt it was best to reach out and share this update with you all. I wanted you to know that we are taking care of the partner and supporting them with whatever they might need. We checked in again with our partner this morning, and they shared they are feeling well and will continue to focus on rest and recovery. We also recognize that closing a store can cause hardship for some partners, and we’re caring for them in every way possible. Out of respect for the partner, I ask that we all honor their privacy and avoid sharing details publicly in social media. For now, we are all focused on supporting them, doing what is right for all of you, and supporting all field leadership and store partners with whatever they need.

Starbucks said in the letter it will frequently do additional cleaning and sanitizing of all of its stores, which is already underway.