With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic causing uncertainty for many, one of the nation's biggest food chains has made a pledge to its employees.

In a letter to customers and employees sent on Sunday, Starbucks CEO and president Kevin Johnson revealed that the company has committed to paying its employees for the next 30 days -- whether they work or not. Additionally, Starbucks has closed all of its sit-in cafes in the United States and Canada, while drive-thrus will remain open.

"In cooperation with and guided by local government officials, our drive-thru and delivery continue to be available so that we can provide communities a range of food and beverage offerings," Johnson wrote. "We also committed to pay all Starbucks U.S. and Canada retail partners for the next 30 days whether or not their store is closed, or they are otherwise unable, or even uncomfortable, coming to work. We believe no partner should be asked to choose between work and their health."

Starbucks' commitment to its employees comes at a time in which stay-at-home orders aimed at encouraging social distancing have led to a surge in unemployment, with restaurants seeing decreases in business and in some cases, being forced to cut shifts or close. In addition to his company's payment commitment, Johnson said that Starbucks has extended childcare benefits, is offering a new mental health benefit and has introduced catastrophe pay.

"Partners are the heartbeat of Starbucks," Johnson wrote. "And we will continue to do whatever we can to support them."

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