By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp <SBUX.O> on Wednesday said it will extend special coronavirus provisions, including pay increases for U.S. workers and closed dining areas, for two weeks to May 3.
The world's largest coffee chain is also considering the use of non-medical grade face masks and possibly handing off mobile orders to customers at doorways to help ease drive-thru pressure in some stores, the company said in a letter to employees.
Like most other restaurants, Starbucks had to close its cafe areas and move operations to drive-thru, carry out and delivery only in response to customer concerns and government mandates to help stop the spread of the deadly virus by limiting social contact.
Starbucks is also sending thermometers to company-operated stores for workers to self-monitor if they choose.
It plans to slowly adjust operations, benefits and pay back to normal levels after May 3. The special provisions - which include continued "catastrophe" pay for employees who do not come to work, as well as an extra $3 per hour for those who do continue working - had been set to expire April 19.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Sandra Maler and Diane Craft)