Have you ever been in desperate need of the restroom and, just as you were about to panic, spotted a Starbucks sign and rushed inside to use their restrooms without making a purchase?
According to Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz, this may cease to be a possibility soon. He stated on Thursday at The New York Times DealBook D.C. policy forum that the company is considering restricting bathroom access to protect the mental health of its employees.
“There is a safety issue in our stores because customers use them as public restrooms,” he explained. “We must provide a secure environment for our citizens.”
Schultz stated that Starbucks employees deal with millions of customers every day in addition to those using the restrooms, and he was uncertain as to whether they would be able to keep the bathrooms open.
The New York Times reports that this is the first time Schultz has addressed the company’s bathroom policies since rejoining the company in April as its interim chief executive.
Customers would have access to the restrooms for a fee. This is fortunate, as coffee is both a diuretic and a laxative, meaning that it could send drinkers to the restroom for a variety of reasons. According to USA Today, state laws regarding restroom requirements in restaurants vary.
If Starbucks restricts restroom access, it would reverse a decision made in 2018 in response to the arrest of two Black men at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania location. The men were reported to police after using the restroom without purchasing anything.