Starbucks is shuttering 16 store locations nationwide after store managers reported a surge in drug use among customers and outsiders as well as an increase in crime in certain areas.
Six Starbucks locations will be closed in the company’s hometown of Seattle and six more will be shuttered in the Los Angeles metro area.
Two Starbucks restaurants will cease operating in Portland, Ore., while one store each will close in Philadelphia and Washington, DC, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Store managers have complained to company executives that employees have not felt safe amid a surge of assaults, thefts and drug use in and around each location.
The company responded by giving store managers discretion to deny free access to the store’s bathrooms, which are open to the public as per corporate policy, according to the Seattle Times.
Last month, Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz said the company was rethinking its “open bathroom” policy due to mounting concerns about public safety.
“There is an issue of, just, safety in our stores, in terms of people coming in who use our stores as a public bathroom,” Schultz said during a New York Times DealBook event.
“We have to provide a safe environment for our people and our customers. The mental health crisis in the country is severe, acute and getting worse.”
Managers will also have greater leeway in rearranging the seating layouts and even adjusting hours of operation in order to address employee safety concerns.
The Seattle-based coffee chain plans to reassign the employees from its shuttered locations to other restaurants.
The Post has reached out to Starbucks seeking comment.
Large cities have seen a rise in violent crime and theft over the past two years.