March 13, 2020

Galen Weston photograph

A note from Galen Weston on what we’re doing about COVID-19

There is a great deal of uncertainty right now with everything going on around COVID-19, and so I wanted to reach out directly to you, our customers.

Our company’s purpose is to help Canadians live life well. That seems particularly important today. We know you’re relying on us for the comfort and necessity of food, pharmacy and wellness in almost every community nationwide.

What does that really mean?

To start, you expect our supermarkets and Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies to be up and operational, with healthy environments and teams ready to serve. We are delivering that with increased sanitization practices, thoroughly cleaning high-touch areas like our checkouts, cooler doors, and pharmacy counters three times a day. If you have any concern, I hope you’ll ask your store owner or manager to explain why you can shop with confidence.

Our service to you also relies on people – your friends and family working in your local store. These 190,000 colleagues have families and concerns of their own, and we should all understand how hard they are working. We are helping them stay informed and prepared. Most importantly, we want them to protect themselves and in turn protect you. That’s why we are retraining colleagues on safety practices and instructing them to stay away from work if they are ill. We know this will raise concerns around missed shifts and income. So, we’re introducing safeguards that ensure they won’t lose pay for COVID-19-related absences. People should not have to choose between their income and good health. In spite of our precautions, we know some people are still feeling anxious about public spaces. Many are turning to e-commerce options like our PC Express food pick-up and delivery, and our Shoppers Drug Mart e-prescription services. To support those customers, we’re staffing up, eliminating PC Express pick-up fees, bringing the price of home-delivered items down, and imagining new ways to help those in need access food and medication. As always, Shoppers Drug Mart and supermarket pharmacies will offer to deliver medication to your home free of charge.

And whether in-store or online, as customers stock up, some items will be sold out. We know the frustration of an empty shelf and have assigned an entire team to the challenge of rapidly re-stocking key food, health, cleaning and comfort items. As they do so, our commitment is that you will continue to find the same value-for-money in our stores, no matter what happens in the coming weeks. All of this remains dynamic and we are ready for a range of outcomes. We know it’s never been more important to help you keep your family fed and healthy. And as an employer, retailer, and part of Canadian communities from coast to coast, our responsibilities extend beyond our doors. We are looking at ways to support our neighbours and governments, asking questions like: Can our pharmacies help with testing?; How can we continue to support in-school kids-hunger programs if local classes are suspended?; What is the best way to feed those in vulnerable communities?; and many, many more.

We won’t solve every challenge. But, we promise to serve our customers and communities as best we can, and to simply do the right things in a complicated time.


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Galen Weston

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