Coffee Chains Halt Use of Reusable Cups Amid COVID-19 Concerns

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TORONTO — Amidst growing COVID-19 concerns, three of Canada’s top coffee chains — Tim Hortons, Starbucks and Second Cup — are temporarily suspending the use of reusable cups. 

In a statement released late last week, Tim Hortons states, “We’re closely following developments on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and are regularly taking advice on health and safety from public health officials and our own internal and external quality assurance and safety specialists. Though health officials have not recommended any changes to current procedures, after listening to our restaurant owners and comments from our guests, we’re going to pause on accepting reusable cups at this time. We’re continuing to reinforce proper health and sanitization procedures at restaurants and our supply chain is sourcing extra gloves, hand-sanitization gel and other essential cleaning materials should we need them in the coming months.”

While Starbucks and The Second Cup Ltd. are also temporarily halting the use of reusable cups, they will continue to honour associated discounts.

“First and foremost, the health and well-being of our partners and customers remains top of mind and our highest priority and we’ll continue to act thoughtfully and courageously despite the disruption and uncertainty COVID-19 brings to our daily lives,” Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice-president and president of U.S. company-operated business and Canada, said in an open letter published on the company’s website Wednesday.

Last week, McDonalds also announced its decision to temporality halt the use of reusable cups brought in by customers. “We’ll continue to monitor the situation and plan to reintroduce the policy at a later time,” wrote McDonald’s Canada spokeswoman Veronica Bart in an email.

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