Television crews gather in front of the LloydsPharmacy branch at County Oak Medical Centre, which has been closed since a staff member tested positive for coronavirus, on February 11, 2020 in Brighton, England (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

LloydsPharmacy has introduced new opening hours and a social distancing policy, effective from Friday (20 March), in response to the rising demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The stores will open an hour later than usual, which for many stores will be 10am, and will close for the last hour of the day, which is typically between 5pm-6pm, however, stores with late opening will differ.

All stores will also close for a lunchbreak, typically between 1pm and 2pm, to enable the healthcare teams to have a scheduled break.

“Our pharmacy teams have been experiencing an unprecedented demand for their services as the COVID-19 incidence increases. Our priority is to ensure we continue to meet this increase in demand and support the health and wellbeing of our customers during this difficult time,” said Kevin Birch, chief retail officer at LloydsPharmacy.

“It is therefore vital that we introduce measures to protect our vulnerable patients as well as our colleagues. As a community healthcare provider we are continually monitoring the situation as it evolves to ensure we are offering the best care to all.”

The chain, which operates around 1,500 pharmacies across the UK, has also introduced a two-metre social distance policy between pharmacist and customer. It has allowed pharmacists to temporarily restrict the number of patients in any one store to maintain health and safety.

Birch added that people who cannot collect prescriptions in person due self-isolation or social distancing can order and arrange to have their NHS repeat prescriptions delivered to their door through the free app Echo.

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