Feb 28, 2022 - News

CVS pharmacies close daily for 30-minute lunch break

A CVS Pharmacy store

A CVS Pharmacy store in San Francisco, California. Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty

Pharmacists at most CVS stores will get an uninterrupted, 30-minute lunch break daily, starting Monday.

Why it matters: It's considered a win for the health care workers who have been strained during the pandemic with staffing shortages and added responsibilities, like administering COVID vaccines, said Mitchel Rothholz of the American Pharmacists Association.

  • Pharmacies are also managing safety concerns due to pushback from some customers around COVID precautions, like face mask mandates.

What's happening: CVS will close most of its pharmacies companywide from 1:30-2pm every day for the break, spokesperson Amy Thibault told Axios.

  • Patients who seek assistance during that time will be asked to call back or return after 2pm.
  • "This break gives our pharmacy teams a predictable and consistent daily pause while minimizing disruption to our patients," Thibault said.

Between the lines: While CVS pharmacists and technicians have always been able to take lunch breaks, pharmacies would remain open during that time.

Of note: CVS employs nearly 100,000 health care providers nationwide.

What they're saying: Rothholz said the 30-minute break for CVS pharmacists was a start but called for higher salaries, boosted security and better service management, like requiring appointments.

  • "It's not going to be the end-all solution," he said about the new break. "They've got to look at their teams differently than they are today."

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