CVS and Walmart Will Cut Pharmacy Hours Due to Staffing Shortage
If you have to pick up prescriptions at your local CVS or Walmart pharmacy, you might want to double-check the store's hours, as both major retailers recently announced plans to scale back hours of operation.
The revised hours come as an effort to maintain a healthy work-life balance for employees as staffing shortages continue to disrupt CVS and Walmart's ability to service customers.
CVS said it will be "adjusting hours in select stores" this spring as part of a periodic review of "operating hours to make sure we're open during peak customer demand." The move will affect around two-thirds of the company's approximately 9,000 retail pharmacies beginning in March, a company spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch.
The CVS spokesperson explained that this move is to "ensure our pharmacy teams are available to serve patients when they're most needed," adding, "If a pharmacy is closed, a patient can visit any open CVS Pharmacy location for assistance with their immediate prescription needs."
Related: From CVS to Albertsons, Here's a Complete List of Retailers Now Offering Mental Health Services
Walmart also confirmed that it plans to cut pharmacy hours at locations nationwide to improve the "work-life balance" for its associates.
"Walmart is committed to helping our associates live better. Walmart has a strong and incredible pharmacy team, and we are making this change to not only enhance their work-life balance but also to maintain the best level of service for our customers," a Walmart representative told the outlet.
Walmart pharmacies will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, marking a two-hour reduction in its weekday hours which previously had locations operating until 9 p.m.
Related: These 22 Medications Are in Short Supply—Is Yours on the List?
The company said its new hours are a reflection of feedback it received from pharmacy associates and customers, "By positioning our teams in the hours where our customers say they want to visit our pharmacy, we are better able to deliver excellent customer service and support our associates as they continue to serve their communities every day."
For years, both companies and other pharmacies around the country, like Walgreens, have struggled to grow their staff to meet the increased demands brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with job opportunities for pharmacy technicians, pharmacists and pharmacy students soaring in 2021.
Cutting hours wasn't the first solution, as in Feb. 2021, many pharmacies tried to entice new employees by rolling out sign-on bonuses of up to $20,000 as well as increased hourly wages for workers.
Related: Amazon Launches Prescription Drug Plan for Prime Members
Before the pandemic, qualified candidates exceeded the number of available jobs, Michael Hogue, dean of the Loma Linda University School of Pharmacy, revealed to the outlet, suggesting that there simply aren't enough people equipped in the field to fill these roles.
Walgreens said despite hiring thousands of pharmacists nationwide, the company still had to adjust store hours over the past 12-plus months due to staffing challenges, but it remains hopeful: "We have seen positive staffing trends for the past several months as we work to return more stores to normal operating hours."