(NEXSTAR) — Coffee giant Starbucks is facing criticism Wednesday after the company announced it no longer requires U.S. workers to receive COVID-19 vaccines or test negative each week, with the java juggernaut citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling as its reasoning.
Last week, SCOTUS voted 6-3 against the Biden administration’s federal mandate requiring employees of companies with more than 100 workers to be vaccinated. Starbucks currently has around 9,000 stores employing about 200,000 workers, the New York Times reports.
In a statement to employees, Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote: “We respect the court’s ruling and will comply.”
The announcement came just weeks after Starbucks said all employees would be required to be vaccinated by Feb. 9 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Many consumers online condemned the decision, with #BoycottStarbucks trending on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.
“I will not go to Starbucks or anywhere that does not require workers to be vaxxed,” tweeted @SoCalSusan. “Our health is worth self-advocating for.” Meanwhile, @Charles_791 writes: “Vaccines prevent serious illness and death. All steps have been taken to ensure that vaccines are safe and effective for people ages 5 years and older. It’s such a shame that a brand as big as Starbucks will make such a ridiculous decision.”
Starbucks has previously faced boycott calls for a variety of decisions, including backlash in 2020 after the company said employees weren’t allowed to wear items supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, saying it could “amplify divisiveness.” Starbucks reversed the decision last year.
Meanwhile, Culver says while the requirement is now gone, “… we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate.”