WASHINGTON - Starbucks is closing 16 stores around the country, including a location in D.C., because of repeated safety issues, including drug use and other disruptive behaviors that threaten staff.
The company said it is closing its store in Union Station, along with six stores in Seattle, six in Los Angeles, two in Portland, Oregon and one each in Philadelphia. The closures are effective July 31st.
Starbucks said employees at those stores will be given an opportunity to transfer to other stores after the closures.
Company officials cited safety concerns as the reason behind the closures. On Tuesday, the company said the closures are part of a larger effort to respond to staff concerns and make sure stores are safe and welcoming.
In a letter to employees, Starbucks’ senior vice presidents of operations Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson said the company’s stores aren’t immune from problems like rising drug use and a growing mental health crisis.
"We know these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores too. We read every incident report you file — it’s a lot," Stroud and Nelson wrote.
Starbucks its plan to keep employees safe includes modifying operations, closing restrooms, or even closing a store permanently, when safety is no longer possible.
FOX 5 reached out to Union Station's property management company about the closure, but has not heard back yet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.