(The Hill) – Two major U.S. drugstore chains, CVS and Walgreens, are closing some of their stores for the weekend due to staffing shortages caused by so many workers falling ill with the omicron variant of COVID-19, Reuters reports. .
CVS said these weekend closures only affected a small number of its stores and were a temporary measure due to issues caused by the omicron variant in conjunction with staffing shortages in the country.
“A tiny fraction of stores are temporarily closed one or both days of the weekend to help address acute staffing issues amid both the omicron surge and labor shortages affecting almost every industry and business,” Mike DeAngelis, executive director of CVS Corporate Communications, told CNN.
Walgreens also said the closures only affected 1% of the company’s 9,000 stores.
“This is an extremely limited basis, on a case-by-case basis and not specific to any region or area, as we strive to staff and keep the pharmacy open for our patients in the community,” said A Walgreens spokesperson told Reuters, adding that the company is working to provide struggling stores with additional staff to help them.
American Pharmacists Association chief of staff Mitchel Rothholz told CNN that staffing pressures have hit pharmacies particularly hard because of their relationship with the health care industry.
Rothholz told CNN last month, “It’s a problem across the healthcare system, not just in pharmacy, but our members are constantly dealing with it now, due to increased demand for testing as well as Covid vaccinations, people who want to get boosters or even get their first doses.