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CVS, Walgreens temporarily shut some stores amid COVID surges, staffing issues

Walgreens and CVS said the majority of their stores are open, but some locations are forced to temporarily close or limit business hours.

NEW YORK — As staffing shortages squeeze industries across the U.S., some Walgreens and CVS stores are limiting hours or temporarily closing. 

A Walgreens spokesperson said while the "vast majority" of the chain's stores are operating with normal business hours, omicron-fueled COVID surges have worsened staffing issues: "The ongoing labor shortage combined with the surge of COVID-19 cases has resulted in isolated instances in which we’ve had to adjust operating hours or temporarily close a limited number of stores."

The spokesperson didn't provide exact numbers or locations, but Reuters reports that the closures affect less than 1% of Walgreens' nearly 9,000 stores. 

As part of an effort to limit problems for customers, the spokesperson said Walgreens chose days with the "lowest prescription demand" and made sure a nearby pharmacy is available for patients who need their prescriptions immediately. 

"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 spokesperson said via an emailed statement. 

RELATED: Omicron spread causes services nationwide to struggle

CVS is facing similar issues. A spokesperson for the chain said via an emailed statement that a "small number of stores may temporarily close on one or both days of the weekend" due to "acute staffing issues amidst the omicron variant surge and a nationwide workforce shortage." He said patients affected by the closures can visit any open CVS to get their prescriptions. 

Both chains said the staffing closures are temporary. "We expect it to rapidly improve as we get through the latest surge," the Walgreens spokesperson wrote.

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