The policy change comes a couple of weeks after an incident in which a customer at a San Diego Starbucks was reportedly denied service for not wearing a mask. The customer, Amber Lynn Gilles, posted a photo of a barista, Lenin Gutierrez, who reportedly denied her service. The incident led to Gutierrez receiving more than $85,000 in tips via a GoFundMe account due to many people supporting his decision to not serve the maskless woman.
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Starbucks has required its employees to wear masks since April. The Seattle-based franchise has more than 28,000 locations worldwide. Since its inception in 1971, Starbucks has become a presence in nearly every neighborhood across the country. Stores have opened in Target and Kroger locations as an alternative to those communities without standalone stores.