All U.S. Starbucks locations to require customers to wear masks soon

Starbucks announced that it will require all customers as well as employees to wear face coverings inside any company-owned property in the U.S. starting July 15.

Regardless of any local government mandate, customers will be expected to wear a mask to go inside the cafe. Starbucks offered ordering alternatives for those who may not have a local face mask mandate or may not have a mask:

At select locations where a local government mandate is not in place, customers that may not be wearing a facial covering will have various options to order their Starbucks, including ordering at the drive-thru, curbside pickup through the Starbucks app or placing an order for delivery through Starbucks Delivers.

—  "Navigating through COVID-19" News release issued by Starbucks on July 9, 2020

Employees at Starbucks have been wearing masks since April, according to CNN.

Last month, researchers said wearing face masks in public prevented between 230,000 and 450,000 new cases of COVID-19 infections during a five-week period this spring, strengthening the argument of those in favor of mandatory face masks for anyone out in public in the United States.

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, said wearing face masks reduced the daily number of coronavirus infections by as much as 2% in states that require masks to be worn in public.

The argument about the need to wear face masks has been a muddled one. Originally, U.S. health officials told people not to wear masks, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the U.S. surgeon general changed course in April and recommended that masks be worn in public to help slow the transmission of COVID-19.

Despite the recommendations, the decision to require that masks be worn is left to the states. There is no federal mandate requiring people to wear a mask or face cover when out in public.