In the face of protests around the country following the death of George Floyd, more than 60 CVS Pharmacy locations will be temporarily closed.
According to Amy Thibault, senior manager of corporate communications for the chain, stores in 21 states will be temporarily closed. When asked for information about specific locations, Thibault said that the "situation is changing too rapidly to share a list" of closures.
Thibault said that pharmacies in "the larger cities are most impacted," and that "hotspots" for impact on the stores included Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles.
"More than 250 of our CVS Pharmacy locations across 21 states have experienced varying levels of damage over the past several days from protest activity," Thibault said. "Thankfully, no employees have been hurt."
Thibault did not say when she expected the closed locations to reopen, but noted that it would happen once "repairs are made and it is safe to do so." Until then, the chain recommends that people call ahead to their pharmacy of choice.
"Each closed pharmacy's phone system has been rerouted to a nearby CVS pharmacy so all patients will continue to have access to care," said Thibault. "We're continually monitoring the situation in each community we serve and will close stores, if needed, to ensure the safety of employees and customers."
Protests began last week after 46-year-old George Floyd died while being arrested by Minneapolis police officers. During the arrest, now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on the back of Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes while three other officers, who have also been fired, watched. Video footage of the moment shows Floyd saying he "can't breathe" before falling unconscious as a surrounding crowd pleads with the officers.
Chauvin is currently facing charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter.
In response to the incident, there have been peaceful protests and demonstrations around the country. However, some protests have turned violent, with injuries, looting and deaths reported.
In a public statement, CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo said he was "deeply disturbed by what unfolded in Minneapolis" and "saddened to see the pain, frustration, and anguish boil over in our communities following the death of George Floyd." In his statement, he added that the chain has an "unwavering" commitment to "inclusion and belonging."
"We are a diverse community here at CVS Health — all 300,000 of us — and that diversity is one of our key strengths," he wrote. "It shows up in how we care for one another — walking in each other’s shoes, joining forces for the greater good and respecting one another no matter what our race or ethnicity. We will continue to uphold the commitment of mutual respect in everything we do. Discrimination and intolerance have no place in our business and will not be permitted in any form."
CVS isn't the only major chain changing its operations during the protests and demonstrations taking place around the country. Target, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, announced that it would be temporarily closing at least six of its stores in areas with ongoing demonstrations.