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Starbucks has closed more than half of its Chinese stores because of coronavirus

Starbucks has closed more than half of its roughly 4,300 Chinese stores, as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread in the country.

The company said Tuesday it is continuing to “monitor and modify the operating hours of all of our stores in the market,” in light of the outbreak.

“This is expected to be temporary,” Starbucks added.

Over the weekend, the company said that it was closing shops and suspending delivery services in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and the wider Hubei Province. It has since closed stores throughout China.

The Wuhan Coronavirus has so far killed more than 100 people and infected thousands. It has reached more than 17 countries.

CEO Kevin Johnson promised transparency into the company’s response to the “extraordinary circumstances,” in a statement Tuesday.

“We remain optimistic and committed to the long-term opportunity in China,” he added.

Johnson noted in a call with investors that Starbucks is prioritizing the health of customers and employees and working with officials to help contain the virus.

China is an important market for Starbucks. In the first quarter, sales at Chinese stores open at least 13 months grew 3%. McDonald’s has been expanding rapidly in the country, opening about 600 stores last year.

It’s not clear how the closures will affect business, the company said. But Starbucks does expect to take a hit in the second quarter and fiscal year 2020, and plans to update its guidance once it can better evaluate the impact. The company’s stock dipped slightly after the bell Tuesday.

Global companies have been responding to the outbreak with store closures and increased safety measures.

McDonald’s said on Friday that it had closed locations in five cities to and from which the Chinese government restricted travel. McDonald’s said open stores were following strict hygiene practices.

KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants also closed in the city of Wuhan. And Disney has closed its parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

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