While the Center for Disease and Control encourages people to self-quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, people still need food, water and other essential resources. With attention to CDC guidelines and adjusted store hours, Hy-Vee has made changes to protect employees and customers from COVID-19.
The CDC issued new guidelines last Wednesday, which encouraged pharmacy employees to wear medical masks during work. Christina Gayman, Director of Public Relations for Hy-Vee, said the company stays up to date on CDC recommendations.
“We began the process … as soon as the protocol came out, so I know we’re hard at work to make that happen soon,” Gayman said.
Gayman said she is unsure when Hy-Vee locations will receive medical masks for their pharmacy team members.
In addition to pursuing masks for workers, Hy-Vee has also altered its store policies in response to the pandemic, which was announced in a press release three weeks ago, Gayman said.
From 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., the Hy-Vee store in Vermillion, as well as other locations, are reserved for people over 60, expecting mothers and people who are at a higher risk of severe illness — these hour changes include the pharmacy.
“We’ve had really good feedback from our customers on (the policy),” Gayman said. “They appreciate the opportunity to shop during that time, especially if they are older or have an underlying health condition, so we’re doing what we can to keep everyone as safe as possible and the feedback has been positive.”
Adjusted store hours don’t just benefit the customers, Gayman said — the new hours also allow Hy-Vee to improve its cleanliness and give employees more time with their loved ones.
“(The changes in store hours) was to give us more time to clean and sanitize and figure out what those procedures were going to be for our stores, but also to allow our employees to have more times with their family,” Gayman said. “A lot of our employees have kids. Kids are out of school. They needed to figure out new childcare arrangements, that sort of thing, so we made those adjustments.”
Hy-Vee stores and their pharmacies have the ability to adjust their hours as they see fit right now. In addition to new hours, Gayman said, Hy-Vee’s pharmacy family account is beneficial during this pandemic.
“You could easily add someone to your account so that you can pick up for one another and that can all be done through the Hy-Vee app or by calling the Hy-Vee pharmacy,” Gayman said.
The pharmacy family account existed prior to COVID-19, but Gayman said it has been helpful during the pandemic.
While changes have come in the form of new store hours and safety precautions, Gayman said Hy-Vee has not implemented any limits on the number of over-the-counter medicine customers can buy. Hy-Vee saw increases in purchases for over-the-counter medicine such as pain relievers like Tylenol and Ibuprofen in the last few weeks, Gayman said, but the company has kept up with the growing demand for medicine.
“I was in a Hy-Vee (last Thursday) and they were well stocked, so I think some of that has evened out, but we’re constantly receiving shipments at all of our stores, of all those items, and restocking every day,” Gayman said.