Adam Silvertown RPh, owner of Pace Pharmacy with two locations in Toronto, specializes in compounding. Here’s how he’s been affected by COVID-19:
Things are definitely very fluid right now, that’s the best way I can say it. I keep reminding my wife that as soon as I heard about it in December, I said to her, “keep your eye on this, it’s going to be a problem.” As history will show, it is a problem, but I didn’t think it would get to where it is today and how it would affect us.
It occurred to me that it would have an effect on us in Toronto and Canada in early March. I finally realized that it was coming and it would hit home. I had a personal trip planned for my family on March 11 and we cancelled it on March 9, before any government said to cancel. We lost money on that, but it was the right decision. I didn’t want to take a gamble.
In the pharmacy – as of today people (our customers and people who call us) are very much aware of social distancing. We are a small store. We have some people who choose to stand outside rather than come in, and they can watch from outside. Since February, we have had a lot of people buying masks, for themselves and for shipping home (to other countries). That has shifted to people buying for themselves. We are now out of masks, alcohol swabs, hand sanitizer, all sorts of cleansers. I like to think I had some foresight in stocking enough masks, gloves, swabs, sanitizers for all my staff. We have 22 staff over the two locations.
At this point we haven’t made any staffing changes, but we’ve instituted a health and safety policy – social distancing, hand washing, not touching your face, being aware of whom you come in contact with, if you come in contact with someone who’s been travelling, if you’re feeling unwell to stay home and call in sick. All staff are acutely aware of how important it is to stay healthy, for the sake of themselves and our patients. I am extremely thankful for them, as they are handling the situation with the utmost grace and professionalism.
As for our patients, everyone is incredible. Everyone is taking it in stride. Everyone is mindful and respectful, they practise social distancing, some stay outside. Everyone is aware that this is something we are all in together.
It’s nice to see as a human. If there is one positive with this, people are having this thing that everyone can relate to together. Unfortunately, it’s taken something that we’re going through, that is the silver lining. Patients are patients, they are understanding if there are supply chain issues.
All of my staff are going the extra mile, willing to come in early, stay in late, cover for someone who has to go home early because of their kids, or covering for someone who has to stay home. I can’t speak highly enough of them. From a staffing perspective, some people have been away because of a staycation.
I keep highlighting my team. They allow me to have time off, but this week has been hard, coming in early, and then going home late, but I am okay for now.
Every pharmacy is different, everyone is going through something different. We at Pace are experiencing what we’re experiencing, but whether it’s a community pharmacy or a hospital or a medical pharmacy or a big box store, the experience will be different. But for all of us, you just have to maintain an optimistic attitude, stay positive and follow what the experts are saying. We need to keep going, keep our patients healthy and safe; we will come out the other side.