Walgreens will close nearly all pharmacies on Thanksgiving for the first time


(Reuters) – Walgreens Boots Alliance said on Thursday it will close nearly all of its stores and pharmacies on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in the chain’s history to give employees “time with loved ones.”

The closure of most of its more than 8,700 stores next Thursday comes at a time when the second-largest U.S. pharmacy faces criticism from pharmacists and technicians over poor working conditions and staff shortages.

“We’ve consistently heard from our team members — who are the face of Walgreens — that vacation is a meaningful way for us to show them we value them,” said Tracy Brown, Walgreens Retail president and chief customer officer.

However, Walgreens said all of its 700 24-hour locations will remain open on Thanksgiving, along with certain distribution centers and other locations including its supply chain and central teams.

Many big-box stores like Walmart and Target are closed on Thanksgiving, but pharmacies and grocery stores typically remain open with modified hours.

Pharmacy chains CVS Health and RiteAid did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment on their Thanksgiving hiring plans.

Many pharmacists and technicians in the United States are trying to unionize with support from the IAM Healthcare Union.

Some employees at US pharmacies at CVS and Walgreens began a three-day strike starting October 30 to push the companies to improve working conditions and add more employees to their stores.

However, CVS and Walgreens said the business action had minimal impact on their operations, with most stores remaining open.

(Reporting by Leroy Liu in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Simnath)

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