Since December 2019, coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has been sickening and claiming victims throughout the country and around the world. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic in March.
Many businesses have shut down or limited their hours. State governments have ordered most businesses deemed non-essential to close. Essential businesses consist of pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations and auto repair shops, banks and warehouse distributions.
CVS Pharmacy is considered an essential business and has remained open.
Charles Simon, who supervises CVS stores in the Philadelphia area, said CVS sent out cleaning supplies to every store and provided more labor hours so the stores can clean hourly areas touched by customers.
“They are also promoting social distance requirements the best we can, considering we are an essential business and we cannot shut down,” he said. “An example would be at our pharmacy pick up, we put tape down and extended the counter so there is six feet between the pharmacist and the patient.”
“You feel nervous that you are exposed to a lot of customers that could potentially have the coronavirus, but you do feel good that you are able to be a business that everyone can depend on with in the community during a time like this,” he said. “Sales are up by 30% compared from last year’s sales. But this could change in upcoming weeks without the proper supplies available.”
Pharmacy Technician Tatyana Bell said she still feels as if the six feet social distancing isn’t really helping.
“We will still have to hand people their medications and do money exchanges,” she said. “I feel like this is a perfect time to stop people from coming inside our pharmacy and having people do everything through the drive-thru.”
“I became even more worried when work started becoming stressful,” she said. “I have been working later and picking up more shifts. I’ve seen how crazy people are getting. Makes you wonder what is yet to come.”
Most states have instituted a stay-at-home order to help prevent the disease from spreading.. Some states have even set a curfew. New Jersey has a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
CVS has given out a document to workers in case they get pulled over for driving home after working late hours.The note in part reads, “As a healthcare provider, CVS Health has obligations that extend past the normal population and need to travel to and from our places of business…Please allow this individual to proceed unencumbered for the duration of this event.”
Jalen Howard, a shift manager at a CVS store in Wilmington, said the note helps put him at ease.
“The thought of being pulled over for being out past “curfew” is a concern of mine when I leave from a closing or an overnight shift,” he said. “But since CVS has taken the necessary precautions and given me the ability to verify my status as an essential employee, I don’t dwell on it too much.”
Ed Small, assistant store manager at CVS in Brookhaven, Pa, said he is worried about the danger it could put some of the employees in.
“I honestly feel most people aren’t taking it serious enough. This thing is spreading much faster and easier than anything I have ever heard of, but overall, I believe if people only leave when they really need to, and practice good hygiene, well be ok,” he said. “It doesn’t personally affect me a whole lot, since I’m healthy and relatively young, but there are plenty of people who have other health issues and working at CVS could put them at risk.”