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Birds fly past CVS Health Corp signage in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg)

CVS Health to hire 50,000 in response to coronavirus demand

Birds fly past CVS Health Corp signage in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg)

CVS Health Corp said it plans to hire 50,000 people in full-time, part-time and temporary jobs to tackle surging demand for drugstore services and health goods during the US coronavirus outbreak.

The drugstore chain said it plans to hire store workers, delivery drivers, distribution centre workers and customer service employees. CVS and other pharmacies are inundated with people stocking up on medications, health and household items. Prescription delivery is up nearly 300 per cent since CVS waived fees earlier this month, CVS spokesman TJ Crawford said in an e-mail.

CVS’s hiring push is one side of a brutal, rapid economic shift as tourism, restaurant and other services industries lay off huge numbers of workers in response to plummeting demand because of coronavirus fears and lockdowns. As Americans stay at home, they’re ordering goods online and going to drug and grocery stores to stock up.

CVS Health Corp signage is displayed outside a store in downtown Los Angeles, California, USA, on Friday, October 27, 2017. (Photo: Bloomberg)

The drugstore chain plans to hire furloughed workers from existing clients like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc and Marriott International Inc, using virtual job fairs and interviews to hire at a time when Americans are being told to limit in-person contact and stay home.

CVS isn’t alone. Rival drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc on Sunday said it plans to hire more than 9,500 people, while Amazon.com Inc plans to hire 100,000, and Walmart Inc 150,000.

CVS store employees and other hourly workers will also get bonuses between US$150 and US$500, the Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based chain said in a statement.

CVS CEO Larry Merlo (Photo: Bloomberg)

“Our colleagues have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to providing essential goods and services at a time when they’re needed most,” CVS CEO Larry Merlo said in the statement.

The company will also offer child and elder care for workers. Part-time employees will have access to some paid time off for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CVS operates about 9,900 drugstores in the US and last year had annual retail and pharmacy sales of US$85.9 billion.