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More Than 8,000 Starbucks Stores Closed for Anti-Bias Training

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PHOENIX, Arizona — If you usually get your afternoon or evening caffeine fix at Starbucks, you might have to look elsewhere for that pick-me-up on Tuesday.


The coffee giant is closing more than 8,000 stores nationwide for several hours to conduct anti-bias training in the wake of the controversial arrests of two black men at a Philadelphia shop last month.


Most of Arizona’s standalone locations were scheduled to close for the day starting at 2, 2:15 or 2:30 p.m. Most shops inside grocery stores were remaining open as usual.


In the Philadelphia incident, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were asked to leave after one was denied access to the bathroom. They were arrested by police minutes after they sat down to await a business meeting. The incident was recorded by cellphones and went viral.


Nelson and Robinson settled with Starbucks this month for an undisclosed sum and an offer of a free education from Arizona State University through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. They also reached a deal with Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each and a promise from officials to establish a $200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.


Now, Starbucks announced anyone can use its restrooms even if they are not ordering anything. Also, anyone can sit in the cafe without ordering something. According to documents the company sent to workers, employees should also think carefully when dealing with disruptive customers. A guide advises staff to consider whether the actions they take would apply to any customer in the same situation.


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