As the number of coronavirus cases and related fatalities increases in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control is asking Americans to take more precautions to protect themselves. As part of its efforts, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) will begin requiring its employees to wear protective masks on the job.

Stepping it up

While businesses across the country are floundering amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants and food companies are in full operation providing for their customers. Workers may be grateful to still have jobs, but conditions can be precarious since these employees don't have the luxury of working from home. 

A group of starbucks baristas, with one holding a large trophy.

Starbucks Barista Champion Ivan Rizo-Pineda. Image source: Starbucks.

Starbucks has continued to add new levels of protection for both workers and patrons since it originally announced store closures on March 17. Those new measures include switching to drive-though and delivery only, having partners wear gloves, and extra sanitizing. 

As of April 7, store employees will be required to wear face masks while at work. Stores will also have thermometers available for partners who want to self-monitor.

Giving more than gloves

Starbucks is also giving back to workers who are braving the environment. The company is paying higher hourly wages and offering catastrophe pay and mental health services. Starbucks U.S. president Rossann Williams said in a note on the company website, "I know that the moments we are creating right now are the best moments our customers may have in their day-to-day lives, and our role in providing these moments has never been more important."

Starbucks stock hit a low in late March but has since rebounded over the past two weeks.