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Jun. 21, 2021 | Monday
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Simpson's Pharmacy launches special hours just for seniors during pandemic
NOTL resident Diane Pietrias Monday morning at Simpson's Pharmacy during hours reserved for senior shopping

Simpson’s Pharmacy has introduced reserved morning shopping hours for seniors as a COVID-19 social distancing measure.

The goal of setting aside opening hours from 8:30 to 11 a.m. is to protect the more vulnerable members of the community from the spread of the virus.

“What we really want to do is keep the most vulnerable members of our society safe so we can reduce the transmission to them because they are most likely the ones to suffer the most severe illness and consequences,” pharmacy owner Sean Simpson told The Lake Report Monday.

“As additional measures are announced, we want people to be aware that we want to keep ourselves and our team safe and one of the best ways we can do that is by maintaining a safe environment in-store.”

Simpson is encouraging people to continue practising proper hygiene and to stay home as much as possible. 

A Facebook post by Simpson on March 15 proposed all “pharmacies and grocery stores of Niagara-on-the-Lake reserve the first 2-3 opening hours per day be reserved for those most at risk only. Our elderly.”

NOTL residents Hugh and Lillian Hutton didn’t know about the change to morning shopping hours until arriving on Monday.

“It appears to me as though the country is doing a good job and being proactive, having seen what’s happening,” Hugh said. “Take heed of what the news is saying.”

“(We should) do our part, washing our hands and all that, not going out unless we have to,” Lillian said.

Simpson said he’s hopeful Niagara-on-the-Lake will manage to flatten the curve of the spread.

“We’ve got a lot of smart, bright people around and if we all take proactive measures to follow through on recommendations and announcements then I think we will have a better outcome in our community than some other places,” he said.

“There’s no question that the virus will continue to circulate and infect people, but if we can slow that rate down then we can really reduce the impact that it will have in our community but it’s going to take a lot of sacrifice.”

As the COVID-19 situation changes “minute-to-minute” he said the pharmacy will evaluate every option they have to keep customers, their team and families safe.”

This could mean changes to the pharmacy’s practices and hours of operation. Simpson’s will continue to keep its Facebook page as things change. 

“We will always figure out ways of getting things to people the way they need them,” Simpson said.

Delivery of prescription medications takes priority, but the pharmacy wants to deliver any necessities of day-to-day living for people who may not be able to leave their homes.

“The message I really want to get out right now is that, more than anything, people don’t need to come to the store,” Simpson said. “We’re happy to deliver.”

“My feeling is that we are going to hear about more severe measures that are going to need to be taken, which is why my ultimate feeling is that I would like to have the problem of having too many deliveries.”

To tackle deliveries, he said he may need to rely on help from people in the community who might not be able to work their real jobs right now, keeping in mind precautions that need to be taken for hygiene training. He said he already knows of some people who have reached out to help.

The mood of customers coming into the pharmacy varies at the moment, Simpson said.

“I think it’s fair that we all have a bit of anxiety right now and I think that it’s really important that we all be empathetic and kind to each other.”

NOTL resident Diane Pietrias said “the whole situation is very sad.”

It’s hard having three young adults at home who don’t get it and she is, “seeing the dichotomy of who cares and who doesn’t.”

“I have a 19-, 20- and 24-year-old still living at home,” Pietrias said. “I would say in the last day or two they’ve curtailed their activities. You know not ended it, just sort of not doing as much.”

Pietras said she thinks it’s harder for young people to cancel everything because they might think they’re going to be OK and aren’t worried about older people getting sick.

“It’s that sort of disconnect that is probably endemic to our society right now,” she said. “I think that if I had one thing to give them it would be to think of others.”

Although social distancing is about limiting the contact we have with each other Simpson encourages people to “reach out and connect” and try using forms of technology like online video chats.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty, so we have to just recognize that we’re really all in this together and hopefully we can look back on this exercise knowing we all made sacrifices for the greater good,” Simpson said. “There’s lots of potential for technology to help people stay connected as we navigate this.”

He said he thinks the measures we take to reduce the transmission through social distancing and listening to our public health authorities are going “to go a long way towards easing that panic.”

The theme that has to be constant is people using proper hygiene and washing their hands with soap and water when possible. “Generally speaking, when people stay home they would have access to soap and water,” Simpson said.

“If everybody kind of gets to a certain degree of social distancing we will be able to thwart the transmission or at least slow down the transmission so that the people that need the services will get it and that’s really the measures we’ve taken.”