Walmart and CVS are cutting back on their respective pharmacy hours amid a continued nationwide shortage of pharmacists and other pharmacy staff.
Walmart plans to reduce pharmacy hours by closing at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. at most of its stores, the company confirmed. The current hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
A spokeswoman said the change will help associates keep a strong work-life balance.
“This change is a direct result of feedback from our pharmacy associates and listening to our customers,” the spokeswoman said.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the shift in hours.
Workforce retention and employee burnout have been plaguing the health care sector for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the situation. Both CVS and Walmart previously announced an increase in minimum wages, and CVS started closing pharmacies for a guaranteed lunch break every day between 1:30 and 2 p.m.
CVS said the company will be adjusting hours beginning in March for about two-thirds of its retail pharmacy stores. The company said it periodically reviews operating hours to make sure peak customer demand is being met.
“By adjusting hours in select stores this spring, we ensure our pharmacy teams are available to serve patients when they’re most needed,” CVS said in a statement, adding that customers who encounter a closed pharmacy can seek help at any nearby open location.
Walgreens has previously said it was impacted by staffing shortages and had to limit hours in certain locations, though ”we have seen positive staffing trends for the past several months as we work to return more stores to normal operating hours,” a spokesman said.
“We’ve continued to take proactive steps to address staffing needs, including hiring thousands of pharmacists and other team members, increasing compensation and other measures to reduce workload while creating a differentiated working environment,” the spokesman said.