(KGTV) - Starbucks is shutting down stores in San Diego County and across the nation Tuesday for what they are referring to as anti-bias training for its employees.
The training comes one month after a store manager called police on two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia store but did not order anything. Video of their arrest went viral and sparked outrage against the coffee giant and its policies.
Weeks later, a Los Angeles Starbucks employee was accused of writing a racial slur on a Hispanic customer’s drink.
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Starbucks apologized for the incidents, and the company is hoping the mandatory training and other policy changes will help improve its relations with customers.
In one policy change, the company says people who spend time in stores will be allowed to use the bathrooms even if they have not made any purchases. The company is asking customers to behave in a way that maintains a warm and welcoming environment. If customers are disruptive, employees have been given permission to step in.
Tuesday’s training session for its 175,000 workers will lead to closures of more than 8,000 stores nationwide starting at 2 p.m. local time.
Company officials said stores taking part in the training will not reopen until May 30.
Customers are encouraged to use the Store Locater map to find out when their nearest store will close.
For several hours this afternoon, we will close stores and offices to discuss how to make Starbucks a place where all people feel welcome.
Thank you for your patience and support as we renew our promise to make Starbucks an inclusive gathering place for all.
See you tomorrow.
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) May 29, 2018
10News learned the store closures is expected to cost Starbucks around $12 million.
CNN reported that franchised locations will not take part in the training session.
The four-hour training session will reportedly include education on the history of civil rights and the viewing of a documentary.