March 16, 2020
An update from Galen Weston on what we’re doing about COVID-19
Things continue to move fast and change quickly.
Earlier today the Canadian Government announced they are restricting our international borders to limit the impact of COVID-19. As each of us try to understand how that will affect our daily lives, our friends, and our families, I wanted to reach out again.
Those who went shopping recently will have seen extraordinary numbers of people in stores, long lines, and aisles empty of product. This was a result of extreme levels of buying as millions of Canadians stocked up their kitchens and medicine cabinets. I’m sure the many photos of bare shelves on social media only increased your level of concern.
First and foremost. Do not worry. We are not running out of food or essential supplies. Our supply chain and store teams are responding to the spikes in volume and quickly getting the most important items back on the shelf. Volumes are already normalizing somewhat, and we are catching up. There are a few items, like hand sanitizer, that may take longer to get back, but otherwise we are in good shape.
Another concern you may have is that your supermarket or drugstore could raise prices on the items you and your family need most. Do not worry. This will not happen at our stores. We will not raise a single price on any item to take advantage of COVID-19.
Some of you may also be worried that your local Shoppers Drug Mart or supermarket could close as part of shutting down certain stores and services. Do not worry. We have been in contact with both Provincial and Federal governments. We all agree that food and drug stores are essential services and we must do what we need to in order to keep them operating and serving every community in the days and weeks ahead.
It won’t be business as usual. But, you will be able to count on us. Our teams from across the country, at stores in every community, have been hard at work around the clock to live up to that commitment.
Please keep in mind our service relies on keeping them, and in turn you, safe and healthy. That is our top priority, and it may mean limiting the number of people in our stores at any given time as well as asking customers to keep a certain distance from each other while shopping to reduce the risk of making one another sick.
We are prepared for this, and to support those most in need, some of our stores will offer dedicated hours for seniors and people living with disabilities to come in before the crowds. We are also encouraging those customers who cannot shop our stores to take advantage of our e-prescribing and PC Express options like click-and-collect and home delivery. Last week we lowered delivery prices and eliminated pick up fees and, just like in our stores, we’ve seen a spike in volume. We are managing the rising number of orders and ramping up our systems as quickly as we can so customers can shop online with confidence. However, it will be difficult for us to meet all the additional demand, possibly limiting availability for people who are sick, in self-isolation, or at elevated risk. So, I would ask that if you are healthy, mobile, and symptom-free, please do your best to make it into the store.
All of us will face uncertainty and new challenges over the coming days. Our stores and our services will be far from perfect. But, we will do everything in our power to make sure you have what you need for yourselves and your families. As we have more updates we will continue to communicate, online, in-store, and through our PC Optimum app.
For now, let me leave you with four things:
We have the food, drugs, and essential products you need and that supply will continue even as Canada restricts its borders.
We are going to make sure our stores stay up and running to serve your community.
We will not, under any circumstance, change our actions or prices to take advantage of COVID-19.
Please be patient with us when you are shopping, and don’t forget to practice social distancing.
Over the last few days, it has been remarkable to witness Canadians supporting one another in our aisles: Bags carried to cars. Crowds parting so young moms could check out. Cheers for speedy cashiers. Customers helping stock shelves.
One example in particular stood out. A few days ago, someone stuck a handmade sign to the front of a store. It reads “Be kind”. This is great encouragement to cap off perhaps one of the most-tense weeks of our 100 years running stores, and to help all of us prepare for what is next.
Be kind to each other. We will get through it.