CVS, Walgreens to Increase Number of Coronavirus Testing Sites
Drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens are expanding free coronavirus testing services. CVS Health announced that starting in May, it "will offer self-swab tests to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria." The move comes in addition to large-scale testing the company has been offering at some locations in five states since March. The new free self-swab testing will take place at up to 1,000 CVS locations by the end of May, which equals more than one in 10 of the company's stores. Patients will schedule tests online and will get tested in CVS parking lots or drive-thru windows. The company won't conduct testing inside its stores. Separately, Walgreens announced it's opening free drive-thru nasal-swab testing sites in 49 states and Puerto Rico. The company said it expects to test more than 50,000 people weekly once it's fully operational.
Total Retail's Take: Public access to testing is a core component of the plan to reopen the economy following nearly two months of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The retail industry has been particularly hard hit by the virus, with stores shuttered due to public safety concerns. Therefore, it's refreshing to hear that two of the country's biggest drug store chains, CVS and Walgreens, will play a prominent role in providing testing that's necessary to getting our lives somewhat back to normal — including allowing people to shop in non-essential retail stores. Both CVS and Walgreens position themselves as more than just pharmacy chains, but as healthcare providers. By offering free COVID-19 testing, these brands are living up to those claims.