Starbucks will require all workers to get vaccinated against COVID or test for the virus weekly.
In a letter to workers, Starbucks chief operating officer John Culver noted the rapid spread of the omicron variant and the effectiveness of the vaccines.
"Although there are breakthrough cases, public health and medical experts say that people who are vaccinated will likely experience mild symptoms, while those not vaccinated are significantly more likely to become seriously ill, be hospitalized or die," he said.
Culver also acknowledged the polarization of vaccines but said he has a responsibility to "create the safest work environment possible."
As a result, Culver said Starbucks would comply with the federal government's mandate for large employers to require vaccinations or weekly testing.
Employees will have until Jan. 10 to inform the company whether they are vaccinated. Employees must be fully vaccinated by February 9, or they will have to be tested weekly for the virus and show a negative result.
Culver said the new protocols wouldn't necessarily be a permanent policy, stressing the company will be flexible during the pandemic.
"If vaccination rates rise and community spread slows, we will adapt accordingly," he said.