Starbucks offers free coffee to health care workers, first responders as coronavirus cases rise

Starbucks is bringing back its free coffee giveaway for first responders and health care workers as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.


The Seattle-based coffee giant announced Tuesday that through Dec. 31 "any customer who identifies as a front-line responder to the COVID-19 outbreak" will receive a free tall brewed coffee, hot or iced.

"Our hope with this is to reignite the movement of gratitude and to show those on the front line how much they are appreciated," Virginia Tenpenny, Starbucks vice president of global social impact, said in an interview with USA TODAY. "For us, we believe that one way we can do this is by offering a free cup of coffee."


The free coffee offer can be redeemed at Starbucks U.S. company-operated locations and select licensed stores.


It's for doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, dentists, dental hygienists, mental health workers, active-duty military and hospital staff. (See the full list of who is eligible for the free coffee promotion below).


In the early days of the pandemic, Starbucks was one of the first companies to offer a freebie for those working on the front line. The company said it served more than 2 million free cups between March and the end of May.


"Hopefully other brands will join us in thinking about how can they use their platform to again show support," Tenpenny said. "Little deposits in morale can really go a long way, just so that they feel the support from our community."


The Starbucks Foundation has donated more than $1 million since March to support front-line responders with the delivery of personal protective equipment, essential medical items, care packages and handwritten letters as well as mental health resources.


In July, Starbucks started requiring customers and employees to wear face masks when they enter stores. Other businesses followed Starbucks with mask policies including Walmart and Target.


Who is eligible for Starbucks freebie

Starbucks says those eligible for the free tall coffee offer are front-line health care providers and first responders include: doctors, nurses, public health workers, pharmacists, dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, dentists and dental hygienists, mental health workers (therapist, psychologist, social worker, counselor, etc.), hospital staff such as janitors, housekeeping/security, and active-duty military.


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