by Walgreens News
07 April 2020
FAQs & real-time information on our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Last updated April 7, 2020.
Our stores have always been at the heart of America’s communities – a role we take very seriously, especially during this unprecedented time for our country. We are doing everything we can to help ensure the health and well-being of our team members and customers during the pandemic, and that includes keeping everyone updated and informed.

As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we will continually update this page with our most up-to-date information on the company’s response and ongoing efforts in communities and across the United States.

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Increasing access to COVID-19 testing


What's happening in our stores?

What's happening in our pharmacies?

Keeping our team members safe
 

 



How is Walgreens involved in government efforts to increase access to COVID-19 testing?
As we announced on March 13, we are working with the Administration and state and local health officials to help provide and expand access to COVID-19 testing. On March 21, we activated our first drive-thru testing site in the Chicago area. See more details here.

We are currently working to expand drive-thru testing to 15 new sites in seven states. The states included are Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas. The expansion is a next step building on Walgreens’ collaboration with the Administration, federal health agencies, and state and local authorities.

The 15 locations are being finalized in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and are planned for select hot spot markets with escalating rates of COVID-19 cases.  Walgreens plans to be able to test up to 3,000 people per day across these additional sites, which are expected to be activated beginning later this week.

We have learned a tremendous amount since opening our first government-run drive through testing location on March 21, including the amount of tests we can perform in our parking lots, which we expect to increase by using Abbott’s new ID NOW COVID-19 test.   By utilizing the Abbott’s new testing technology we will be able to accelerate our efforts to provide critical and effective access to testing. 

This is a critical time for our country, and COVID-19 response requires collaboration across industries and sectors. Walgreens is proud to be playing an instrumental role in this public-private partnership, and to do everything we can to help ensure the health and well-being of Americans during the pandemic. 

How does the testing work?
Testing will be available at no cost to eligible individuals who meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Patients will need to?pre-register in advance in order to schedule an appointment for testing.  Soon, patients will be directed to testing locations via an online assessment tool that will be available on Walgreens.com and Walgreens mobile app.
 
At the testing locations, Walgreens pharmacists will oversee the self-administration of the Abbott’s new ID NOW COVID-19 test, which delivers positive results in as little as five minutes and negative results within 13 minutes. Walgreens is ordering up to 3,000 tests per day across all locations. Patients will be informed of results within 24 hours by a physician. 
 
What steps are you taking to help ensure the health and safety of your employees and customers at the testing sites?
The health and safety of our customers, team members and communities are our top priority, now more than ever.  All testing site staff will be provided the necessary personal protective equipment as recommended by the CDC.  Patients being tested will not be permitted to leave their vehicles or to enter the store. 
 
 
 
What’s happening in our stores? 

Will you be adjusting your operating hours?
To better support its store team members during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also continuing to meet the needs of customers and communities, Walgreens has adjusted its operating hours. Beginning Thursday, March 19, most Walgreens stores nationwide will have adjusted operating hours.

Most Walgreens locations, including 24-hour stores, will now be open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. (local times) during weekdays until further notice.  These store hours will also apply to weekends, while pharmacy hours on weekends will largely remain the same. 

For stores with shorter operating hours than 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., customers and patients should visit our store locator for specific store and pharmacy hours.

For Walgreens locations with a 24-hour drive-thru pharmacy, while the front of store will close at 9 p.m., the pharmacy drive-thru will remain open, as it always has, for 24 hours to assist customers and patients with their prescriptions.  Pickup of other select products will also be available at drive-thru.   

How are you supporting seniors during this time? 
At a time of heightened concerns for all of us, and especially for our senior patients, we’re continuing to do everything we can to help support our most vulnerable customers and patients. That’s why Walgreens health outcomes pharmacists, who are dedicated to helping to improving patient outcomes, are currently reaching out to our senior patients to ensure they receive the care and service they need, such as any prescription medications and product supply check-ins.
 
This also means ensuring customers with increased risks associated with COVID-19 feel safe when they are shopping with us. Starting Tuesday, March 24 and every Tuesday for the near future, Walgreens stores will open at 8 a.m., with the full hour from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. dedicated to senior citizens.  This hour is also available to their caregivers and immediate families may also visit the store during this time.* Additionally, we will offer our senior day discount all day on Tuesdays during this time. Customers age 55 and older will receive 30 percent off regularly priced Walgreens brands and 20 percent off regularly priced national brands. Restrictions may apply. Current quantity limits on certain high demand products will be required.
 
*Customers and patients should visit our store locator for specific pharmacy hours.



Are you offering additional products for purchase at pharmacy drive-thru?
 We play a critical role in providing patients and customers access to the care, products and services they need, and this is even more important as we work around the clock to support the COVID-19 pandemic. We are offering additional, select products at the pharmacy drive-thru to offer our customers convenience and peace of mind as communities across the country practice social distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19.

More than 60 front-end products are currently available for purchase at drive-thru, including household essentials chosen specifically to support the needs of customers and communities during the pandemic. These additional products include:
  • Cleaning supplies and sanitizers
  • Cough/cold, pain/fever and immunity support
  • Select grocery items
  • Infant formula/adult nutrition
  • Medical supplies/first aid
  • Paper goods
 
Customers may confirm product availability with the pharmacist or technician at the pharmacy drive-thru window. We are working around the clock to support the COVID-19 pandemic, and ask that customers practice patience as we work to provide this new service. 

How are your stores meeting recommendations for social distancing?

All stores now have social distancing lines, indicated with decals and signage that begin 6 feet away from checkout and pharmacy counters, and is marked in 6-foot increments to indicate where customers should stand while waiting.  

In addition, we are in the process of installing protective plastic shields in our stores chain-wide, with priority being given to our stores in the most impacted areas at this time. These barriers may help reduce or eliminate virus exposure (per CDC recommendations) in places where proper social distancing is not possible, such as at point of sale. They will be in place for both our front-end and pharmacy registers nationwide. We are working as quickly as possible to complete the installation across all of our stores.

 

 


  


   

 
Will you be installing plexiglass shields in your stores?
Yes, we are in the process of installing protective plastic shields in our stores chain-wide, with priority being given to our stores in the most impacted areas at this time.  We are working as quickly as possible to complete the installation across all of our stores. 

While we have taken additional measures to encourage social distancing, these barriers may help reduce or eliminate virus exposure (per CDC recommendations) in places where proper social distancing is not possible, such as at point of sale. They will be in place for both our front-end and pharmacy registers nationwide. 

This is one of our many efforts to help ensure the health and safety of our team members, customers and patients, and to align with CDC guidelines and recommendations.

Our local Walgreens is out of certain products. Will they be restocked?
We have put into effect purchase limits on certain products to improve inventory and to help ensure products can be more widely available. In addition, we continue to work closely with supplier partners to address the current supply chain dynamics.
 
Are you limiting the purchase of any products?
Because of high demand, we’re limiting the purchase of disinfectant wipes and cleaners, face masks, hand sanitizers, hand soap, thermometers, gloves, over-the-counter pain and pediatric medicines, paper goods, and baby formula to two per product category, per customer. Vitamins, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and over-the-counter cough and cold treatment purchases are now limited to four per product category, per customer. We are restocking stores as quickly as possible, and apologize for any inconvenience.

 
What is the best way for customers to stay up-to-date on product availability of high-demand items in your stores?
Our website updates with the latest available store inventory information frequently throughout the day. We’re continuing to see greater demand for a number of products across our stores nationwide, which may cause temporary shortages. We are restocking those stores as quickly as possible and continuing to work diligently with our supplier partners to best meet customer demands.
 
Do you have alternative ways for customers to get through a transaction without touching the keypad?
Customers may opt to purchase items with Apple Pay or with credits cards that offer contactless, “tap and pay” technology at the point-of-sale. Customers may also shop online, and until further notice, there will be free delivery on any purchase on Walgreens.com, with no minimum purchase required. We are also cleaning our keypads frequently throughout the day.
 
Are you taking extra precautions to keep your stores clean?
Our stores have gone to a set 9am-9pm schedule (other than on Tuesdays, which have designated senior hour from 8am-9am) to allow additional deep cleaning of stores, stocking of medicines and products, and rest for our people on the front lines

Stores are increasing the frequency of daily cleaning procedures including cleaning high-traffic areas counter tops and point-of-sale terminals, with additional deep cleaning being conducted by a professional cleaning service at all stores. Our team members are taking appropriate protective steps such as wearing gloves during this cleaning process all distribution centers are proactively pushing out additional cleaning and sanitization items to stores nationwide for team member use. We're also removed multi-use testers for beauty products and will not be offering makeover services at this time.
 
We are working to send cleaning supplies to our stores on an ongoing basis. The situation is fluid regarding supply and given these unprecedented circumstances, we are taking additional measures to provide team members the items they need. As an example, we have expanded our hand sanitizer supplier base from two suppliers to more than 10 suppliers to ensure we can increase manufacturing and flow of inventory to our stores. By doing so, we have commitments for amounts significantly in excess to our typical annual demand.  Stores are also encouraged to use inventory from products for sale such as cleaning supplies, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, isopropyl alcohol, etc, as needed.  
 

Are you hiring additional team members for your stores?
As we deal with significant demands on our stores and pharmacies during this time, we’re looking to fill roughly 9,500 existing full- and part-time roles in stores across the U.S., primarily in these positions:

•Customer service associates (CSAs)
•Pharmacy technicians
•Shift leads
 
Candidates can visit jobs.walgreens.com to search for openings in their area, with positions being added regularly based on local store and pharmacy needs. In addition, as Walgreens continues to assess its needs related to the coronavirus situation, it will look to begin filling additional temporary CSA positions starting next week to help bolster in-store staffing. Some of these temporary positions might potentially lead to full-time job placement. 
 
Are Walgreens photo kiosks still open?
We have reduced the photo kiosk availability by shutting down kiosks as necessary in each store to ensure customers are maintaining social distancing. Minimally, one kiosk must still operate in store to help with critical passport options and essential services like Western Union.

What happens when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your store?
We are committed to providing a safe environment for our team members and customers. When notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a store, we will follow our established protocols and CDC guidance. The Walgreens Office of Clinical Integrity works closely with our field and store leadership team to respond accordingly. Our steps include promptly notifying the public health department and following their guidance while conducting a risk assessment of situation. From there, we identify and contact individuals who may be at risk in order to self-quarantine or self-monitor their health depending on the situation. We also take steps to clean and disinfect the location, which may include temporarily closing a store.
 
Walgreens will pay team members for up to the first two weeks of their absence if they contract a confirmed case of COVID-19. The team member will not be required to use paid time off (PTO) or vacation time, and/or apply for disability benefits during this time. If team members are unable to recover and return to work after two weeks, an additional pay option may be available via disability leave.
 


What’s happening in our pharmacies?
 
How are you preparing pharmacy staff to address patient questions regarding COVID-19?
Working closely with our clinical and safety teams, we continuously share the latest information from the CDC and other health officials with our pharmacy team members to serve as a resource and help address any patient questions/concerns.
 
Our pharmacists are trained and equipped to discuss medication-related concerns and alternative methods for prescription dispensing, such as prescription delivery or drive thru options. Patients can reach a Walgreens pharmacist via phone, in store or using the pharmacy chat option on our website and Walgreens app. Our pharmacy team also partners with health plan partners, physicians and state officials to help patients access the medications they need through services like 90-day medication supply, early refill authorizations and prescription delivery services.
 
How can patients access their prescriptions if they are being quarantined or want to avoid going in-store? 
Patients looking for alternative ways to access their prescriptions may use our pharmacy drive-thru, and Walgreens is waiving delivery fees for all eligible prescriptions. Patients should talk to their pharmacists to confirm their prescriptions are eligible for delivery at this time. They can also send a representative to pick up their medications on their behalf if they choose.

Are pharmacists still giving vaccines?
Supporting our communities and patients during the pandemic by protecting them against preventable respiratory illnesses is important to helping ensure the health and well-being of the communities we serve. We are asking our pharmacists to prioritize vaccinations that protect patients against respiratory illnesses such as the flu, pneumonia and whooping cough. We have instituted additional guidance to protect our pharmacists: 
  • Pharmacists should not administer vaccines to patients who indicate they are sick or have visible signs of respiratory symptoms and refer these patients to a physician.  
  • Walgreens pharmacists are required to wear gloves when administering vaccines. This is part of our standard practice to decrease exposure from needle sticks and blood-borne pathogens.
  • Pharmacists who are high risk for COVID-19 complications, such as those over 65 years of age or with immunocompromised conditions, may defer patients to another pharmacist or healthcare provider to receive immunizations. 

Are you experiencing shortages of hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine phosphate, remdisivir, baloxavir and lopinavir/ritonavir? 
 
At this time, Walgreens has maintained an adequate supply and inventory of these medicines and are able to meet the prescription needs of our current patients. Patients with questions about their medications can reach out any time via phone or using the pharmacy chat option available on Walgreens.com and Walgreens app.

To help ensure these medicines remain available for existing patients, Walgreens issued guidelines to our pharmacies on prescriptions for chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for existing and new patients who do not have a prior history of use. These guidelines are as follows: 
 
  • 14 day supply limit for new prescriptions 
  • 30 day supply limit for refill or prescriptions with a prior history of use 
  • All active 90 day-prescriptions should be limited to 30 days 
Our pharmacies were also reminded to follow the requirements in their state, which may be more restrictive.

 
Keeping our team members safe
 
 
Are you providing hazard pay for your team members?
Our team members are the face of Walgreens, supporting customers, patients and communities across America, who are relying on us now more than ever. In further appreciation of the role our team members are playing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and for their ongoing commitment to customer care, we are awarding a one-time bonus for hourly workers in stores and distribution centers, beginning in late April for team members who are actively employed at that time. This will include all front end and pharmacy hourly team members, as well as hourly and salaried pharmacists. You can find more details here. 


Why is Walgreens keeping its stores open, even in states that have declared a state of emergency?
Walgreens champions the health and wellbeing of every community in America, playing a critical role in providing patients and customers access to the care, products and services they need. This is even more important as we work around the clock to support the COVID-19 pandemic.   
 
We are closely monitoring this situation and will adjust our business operations and policies based on all federal, state and local health advisories. We are also in close communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other health organizations. In most if not all of these cases, the state or local government continues to ask essential retailers like Walgreens to remain open at this time. As this situation evolves, we are actively reviewing our policies, procedures and operations to promote the safety and wellbeing of our team members and customers.

As of March 18, we announced that we will be temporarily reducing our operating hours. By operating with reduced hours, our stores will be able to spend the necessary time, while closed, cleaning, sanitizing and stocking shelves each day. We’re also adjusting our hours to help team members and customers feel comfortable and safe to shop our store during this time. 
 
What plans do you have to provide face coverings for your employees?

In support of recent moves to encourage the general public, as well as retailers, to wear face covers in public, as of April 3, 2020, Walgreens will be distributing face covers for our in-store team members, pharmacists, and employees in our distribution centers and centralized services.

We are working with more than 60 vendors to secure face covers as quickly as possible and anticipate stores should start receiving face covers in the next week. As with our plexiglass shields, stores in areas most impacted by the coronavirus will receive face covers first.
 
While face covers do not prevent the wearer from inhaling smaller airborne particles and aren’t considered respiratory protection from the COVID virus, they can help prevent people who are sick from spreading the virus to others. Given that many people may not be aware they have the coronavirus, broader use of face covers may help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 


Is your pharmacy considering going drive-thru only?
We are actively reviewing our policies, procedures and operations to promote the safety and wellbeing of our team members and customers. We also expanded our offering to additional products at the pharmacy drive-thru as our customers practice social distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19.

 
What is the expectation for employees who aren’t feeling well?

All employees who are not feeling well and have symptoms associated with COVID-19 are encouraged to stay home and contact their primary care physician.  We have protocols in place to self-isolate employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19 by test or who have been given a presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19 by their primary care physician, and corresponding guidelines for other employees who have had close contact with the person with symptoms.

 
Would hourly team members be paid if they take sick time due to a COVID-19 incident in store, or are diagnosed with COVID-19?
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our focus continues to be supporting our store team members and pharmacists, who are on the front lines as we navigate this difficult time in our country. To help our team members through this period, we’ve made several key changes regarding team member pay and benefits, including:
 
  1. Relaxing our attendance policy for hourly team members through the end of April, permitting team members to stay at home due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 for situations including childcare needs due to school closures, or if team members are showing flu- or COVID-19-like symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
     
  2. Paying team members for up to the first two weeks of their absence if they contract a confirmed case of COVID-19. The team member will not be required to use paid time off (PTO) or vacation time, and/or apply for disability benefits during this time. If team members are unable to recover and return to work after two weeks, an additional pay option may be available via disability leave.
     
  3. Ensuring that if a store, area office, distribution center or other company workplace location falls under a mandated quarantine, any impacted team members will be paid for their absence without requiring the use of PTO.
We are continually monitoring the situation and actively reviewing policies and options for team members, and we’re committed to taking the most appropriate steps necessary, in the best interest of our team members and customers.
 
All Walgreens team members, whether at our support centers, our stores, or our distribution centers, play a special role in helping our customers and patients during this difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic. With our commitment to our customers and patients – and each other – we make decisions on how we work with care and attention, to ensure our stores and public websites are fully functional and operational at the highest level. 

How else are you supporting your team members during this time?
A resource for all Walgreens employees year-round, the company offers free access to Life365, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers confidential behavioral health, childcare, legal support and more. The confidential program can help team members manage current day stressors like balancing work and family during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping their loved ones safe, and providing relevant guidance from trained counselors all intended to keep them feeling healthy and resilient. Life365’s trained specialists are governed by federal and state licensing laws and are ready to assist team members 24/7.