Major retailers Walmart and CVS announced today that they will be reducing pharmacy hours in response to a nationwide shortage of pharmacy staff.
Starting in March, Walmart pharmacies will close two hours earlier than the current 9pm at 7pm weekdays; weekend hours remain unchanged. Additionally, CVS has decided to give their staff a daily lunch break from 1:30-2 pm every day.
The National Community Pharmacists Association conducted a survey last summer which revealed that 76% of independent community pharmacies were having difficulty filling positions with qualified employees. In October, Walgreens reported that labor shortages had led some stores to reduce operating hours while introducing robots into its network of automated facilities to fill prescriptions.
“By adjusting our store’s opening times this spring we are ensuring our pharmacy teams are available when most needed,” said CVS in an official statement regarding the change in store hours. A spokesperson for Walgreens added that there have been “positive staffing trends over the past several months as [they] work to return more stores back to normal operating hours.”
This decision by both major retailers comes amid increasing concern about the effect of labor shortages on consumer access and convenience within the industry as well as how it is impacting local businesses who rely on these services for customers’ healthcare needs.
It remains unclear if other large chain drugstores such as Rite Aid or Publix will follow suit and decrease their own operating times due to similar staffing issues but many experts believe it is likely given recent market trends across all sectors of retail business operations throughout 2020/2021 period caused largely by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions still enforced worldwide including here domestically in USA.
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