Starbucks’ chief executive Howard Schultz says the company is considering closing its bathroom doors to non-customers.
Schultz made his comments on Thursday at The New York Times’ DealBook D.C. policy forum.
Starbucks had adopted an open-bathroom policy following the arrest in April 2018 of two Black men at a coffee shop in Philadelphia.
One of the men arrested was denied use of a bathroom, The Associated Press reported at the time. He and his partner were awaiting a business meeting they had scheduled at the store, but were arrested minutes later by police.
The New York Times noted they had not made a purchase.
Now, Schultz said the company’s open bathroom policy might have to change.
He cited a growing mental health problem that was making it difficult for his company’s employees to manage its stores under the current policy, according to the newspaper.
Schultz said it was an “issue of just safety” and that he thought the coffee giant might have to put policies in place that limit the number of non-customers who come into its stores.
“We have to harden our stores and provide safety for our people,” Schultz said. “I don’t know if we can keep our bathrooms open.”