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Starbucks bans personal cups over coronavirus

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Washington (AFP)

Reusable cups are in vogue for reducing waste but are no longer welcome at Starbucks cafes over fears of the coronavirus, the coffee chain announced.

"We are pausing the use of personal cups and 'for here' ware in our stores," Rossann Williams, an executive vice president, said in a statement Wednesday, adding that Starbucks would still give a 10-cent discount to customers who bring their own cup.

The move was the latest sign of the viral outbreak's disruption of daily life as it spreads across the globe, having now killed 3,200 people and infected 95,000 after beginning in China.

Airlines are slashing flights to countries with large outbreaks, schools are closing, meetings are being canceled and many companies are changing their operations.

Williams said Starbucks had "restricted" business-related air travel both in the United States and abroad through the end of March and "modified or postponed" meetings at US and Canada offices.

The company said it had also "increased cleaning and sanitizing for all company-operated stores to help prevent the spread of all germs, adding paid time for our partners supporting this work."

"Our US and international markets have gleaned learnings from our leadership team and partners in China who were first faced with this epidemic," Williams said.

The United States has the most licensed and company-operated Starbucks branches, followed by China.

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