CVS, Walgreens temporarily close some stores amid omicron-related staffing shortages

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Major U.S. pharmacies are being forced to adjust store hours to combat staffing shortages caused by the recent surge in coronavirus cases around the nation.   

CVS said a "small number" of stores around the country will temporarily close on one or both days of the weekend amid the "workforce shortage affecting nearly every industry and company." 

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The company didn't specify the number of stores impacted or where they are located. However, CVS noted that it "remains a fluid situation on a case-by-case basis based on staffing availability." The "vast majority" of its stores are still operating under normal weekend hours, the company told FOX Business. 

Customers walk by products locked in security cabinets at a Walgreens store that is set to be closed in the coming weeks on Oct. 13, 2021 in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Rival Walgreens found itself in the same boat. 

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The surge in cases, driven by the omicron variant, has forced the company to adjust operating hours or temporarily close a limited number of stores. 

However, the Illinois-based company told FOX Business that the vast majority of its stores are still operating under normal hours. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
CVSCVS HEALTH CORP.106.22+0.88+0.84%
WBAWALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE INC.54.30+0.11+0.20%

"This latest COVID-19 surge is placing a significant strain on several industries in the short-term and driving demand for services and products unlike anything seen before," the company said in a statement. "We’re going through this with our communities and remain committed to providing the support needed to get past this surge."  

A woman waits at the pharmacy counter at a CVS on Sunset Boulevard in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. (AP Photos/Stefanie Dazio / AP Newsroom)

When deciding what days to close, Walgreens said it picks days when there is the lowest prescription demand. The company also works to ensure that there will be a nearby pharmacy to "meet any immediate prescription needs." 

During a closure, Walgreens says it will "direct some pharmacy services to the nearest Walgreens." 

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However, this comes as the latest blow for pharmacies that have already been squeezed by the rush of customers seeking vaccines or tests. 

Drugstores are normally busy this time of year with flu shots and other vaccines, but now pharmacists are doling out a growing number of COVID-19 shots and giving coronavirus tests as the highly contagious variant upends every industry two years into the pandemic. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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