(The Hill) – Two major U.S. drugstore chains, CVS and Walgreens, are closing some of their stores for the weekend because of staff shortages caused by so many workers becoming ill with the omicron variant of COVID-19, Reuters reports.
CVS has said that these weekend closures are only impacting a small number of its stores and that they are a temporary measure due to problems caused by the omicron variant in conjunction with the country’s staffing shortages.
“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,” Mike DeAngelis, executive director of CVS Corporate Communications, told CNN.
Walgreens also stated that the closures are impacting only 1 percent of the company’s 9,000 stores.
“It’s an extremely limited, case-by-case basis and not specific to any region or area, as we make every effort to staff and keep pharmacy open for our patients in the community,” said a Walgreens spokesperson to Reuters, adding that the company is working to ensure that additional staff were being provided to struggling stores to assist them.
The chief of staff at the American Pharmacists Association, Mitchel Rothholz, told CNN that the staffing pressures have been hitting pharmacies particularly hard due to their relationship with the health care industry.
Rothholz told CNN last month, “It’s a problem across the whole health care system, not just in pharmacy, but our members are dealing with this constantly now, because of the increased demand for testing as well as Covid vaccinations, people who are wanting to get the boosters or even getting their first doses.”