Staffing shortages have been a problem for years now, with the pandemic only worsening the problem. Some chains radically changed their hours or even closed down entirely due to the Omicron variant’s influence. CVS and Walgreens fall into the former category now, announcing some locations must close down this weekend due to staffing shortages.
Two of the biggest United States pharmaceutical giants, even CVS and Walgreens aren’t immune to pandemic problems. The Omicron variant’s incredible infection rate and spread affected both chains to the degree many stores simply cannot operate. Nonetheless, Mike DeAngelis, a CVS spokesman, stated the “vast majority” of stores will operate during their standard hours this weekend.
DeAngelis revealed the information in an email the New York Times obtained. “A tiny fraction of stores are temporarily closed on one or both days of the weekend to help address acute staffing issues amidst both the Omicron surge and the workforce shortage affecting nearly every industry and company,” DeAngelis wrote in the email.
Meanwhile, Rebekah Pajak, a Walgreens spokeswoman, said something similar and that a “small percentage” of their stores would close. Further, most stores will only close one weekend day. The New York Times also obtained an email from her as well. It stated the decision is strategic based on days with low prescription orders.
“When making the difficult decision to adjust store hours, we make every effort to minimize disruption for our customers,” Pajak wrote. “We select days with the lowest prescription demand, ensure that there is a nearby pharmacy to meet any immediate prescription needs and provide patients as much advanced notice as possible through signage, automated phone calls and adjustments in refills.”
With Omicron cases continuing to surge, more chains may have to enact a similar policy.
CVS Plans to Close Hundred of Stores Within the Next 3 Years
As it turns out the CVS store closures aren’t just limited to the Omicron variant’s spread. Late last year, the chain announced within the next three years, it plans to close hundreds of its stores.
According to the New York Post, CVS decided to due to changing customer needs and converting their stores to a new format. Specifically, it said last November it will close 300 stores a year for the next three years. That equals roughly a tenth of its retail locations when all is said and done. Though the company released a statement, it didn’t list which locations would close.
Part of the “changing customer needs” mentioned has to do with online shopping’s explosive growth as of late. With so many customers ordering online now, in-person demand is diminishing. On that note, it said it would group its stores into three models: traditional pharmacies, customer primary care, and an enhanced version of its “HealthHUB” locations.