Pharmasave is beginning to loosen its COVID-19 precautions but doesn’t plan to return to regular operations until at sometime in June at the earliest. (Max Winkelman - 100 Mile Free Press)

Pharmacy restricted number of customers in store

Customer safety during the time of COVID-19 has been paramount on all business owners minds including those who work adjacent to the health industry such as at 100 Mile House’s Pharmasave.

Charlotte Astell is the front store manager of Pharmasave and has been working for Pharmasave, in some capacity, since 1987. In addition to their pharmacy, Astell said they have a gift store, lady’s fashion section and more.

“Because we’re a small town we try to have as much different variety as possible for people so they don’t have to leave town,” Astell said.

To combat the spread of the virus Astell said that, because they’re a pharmacy, they didn’t shut down completely as people still need their drugs. Instead, they chose to strictly enforce a policy of no more than two customers in the store at any one time. If they had business at the pharmacy they’d be escorted straight there and if they had to wait they’d be told to wait outside in the hallway where chairs had been set up for them.

If someone wished to come into the shop, Astell said a staff member would accompany them and handle all of the items they wished to purchase for them. This practice was in place up until last week where they eased it to allow five people in the store at once with customers allowed to shop independently.

A slow down in business was immediate and unavoidable, Astell said, but this was just something they had to do. The gift store was also closed down which hurt them but in the interest of keeping everyone safe, it was necessary.

Astell said that in addition to following health guidelines they’ve also been following rules set out for pharmacies for what they could and couldn’t do. When asked whether or not she’s going to be able to reopen and go back to her old business practices anytime soon, Astell said it’s something they’re not even thinking about right now.

“I can’t see that happening until June, maybe,” Astell remarked.

The future of the 100 Mile economy, in her opinion, will be rough as in addition to the shutdown she’s worried the tourism for the region will be slow next year, especially for small businesses who rely on the summer months for much of their business. Regardless of how things turn out, Astell intends to keep her head down and keep working to ensure Pharamasave will be able to offer the best services it can to the community.

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