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Pharmacies are critical during the COVID-19 crisis. Recommendations for Pharmacies from our Medical Advisory Committee of local doctors. We encourage curbside pickup and home delivery, as well as in-store protective safety measures..
Pharmacies are critical during the COVID-19 crisis. Residents must have safe access, and pharmacy staff must be protected. I am posting Recommendations for Pharmacies in unincorporated Greenburgh during the COVID-19 crisis. This is based on the State’s guidance for grocery stores and advice from a medical advisory committee of local doctors and other medical professionals. The Recommendations encourage curbside pickup and home delivery, as well as in-store protective safety measures.
TOWN OF GREENBURGH RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PHARMACIES
DURING COVID-19 CRISIS (AS OF APRIL 14, 2020)
On March 17, 2020, I issued the Town of Greenburgh Declaration of Disaster Emergency. The public health emergency necessitating my original Order still exists and has gotten worse. As of April 13th, nearly 20,000 residents of Westchester County have contracted the COVID-19 virus. Nearly 500 residents in the unincorporated section of the Town of Greenburgh, as well as nearly 400 residents of neighboring villages in the Town of Greenburgh, have contracted the COVID-19 virus as of April 13th . Greenburgh and two adjoining municipalities are among the five municipalities in the County with the highest number of cases.
It is essential that residents of the unincorporated section of the Town of Greenburgh and those who shop within the town have safe access to pharmacies for medical supplies, and that the owners and staff of those pharmacies are protected so that those establishments can remain open to provide their essential services.
On April 6th the Governor of the State of New York announced the policy that one cannot “be cavalier or negligent with someone else’s life.” The Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) current published Recommendations in effect as of April 7 include maintaining 6-feet physical distancing and the use of simple cloth face coverings. The current New York Department of Health published Guidelines updated as of April 7 include keeping at least a 6 foot distance from others and taking special caution to avoid exposing the elderly. The elderly are frequent users of pharmacies.
On April 10th, the NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets issued Interim Guidance for RetailGrocery Stores During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (”NYS Guidelines for Grocery Stores”). On April 10th the Governor reminded the public that they are “encouraged to wear face coverings in public.” Also, on April 10th, a local pharmacy informed me that it has instituted a procedure for Curbside pickup as a safety measure for both employees and customers. On April12th, the Governor directed essential businesses to provide face masks to employees when directly interacting with the public.
Considering these circumstances, and upon the advice of the medical advisory committee of local doctors and other medical professionals I have formed, in my judgement it would be beneficial for residents, shoppers, owners and staff if pharmacies in the unincorporated section of the Town of Greenburgh implemented both the safety measures addressed in the NYS Guidelines for Grocery Stores and the practice of Curbside pickup.
Thus, I am recommending the following Recommendations for Pharmacies in the unincorporated section of the Town of Greenburgh:
1. Pharmacies should, to the extent they have not already done so, institute the following protective public health safety measures:
- institute the public health safety measures specified in the NYS Guidelines for Grocery Stores (which is copied below for reference);
- provide a hands free no-touch receptacle at all exits outside the pharmacy for the disposal of gloves, face masks and face coverings (open top, or open sided, or foot-operated), labelled for used gloves and face masks and coverings”, and, if feasible, establish one-way aisle inside the store and separate entrances/exits for customers;
- if available, provide hand sanitizers or sanitizing wipes with at least 60% alcohol for staff and customer use at cash registers and credit card machines; and
- encourage customers to purchase 90-day supplies of prescription drugs (to the extent possible under the customer’s insurance) so as to minimize the number of times purchase are required.
2. Pharmacies should institute a Curbside purchasing and delivery process as an option for customers. A pharmacy should allow customers to order by phone and/or to order by website if the pharmacy has an existing website ordering system, and pay via credit card information supplied by the customer over the phone or website. Subject to the pharmacy validating the credit card, the items ordered would be delivered at Curbside under such delivery procedures as the pharmacy implements. The pharmacy would inform the customer of its procedures for curbside delivery/pickup. The pharmacy employee delivering the purchased items should wear a face mask (a surgical face mask if available). Pharmacies should encourage employees to wash hands or use hand sanitizer or wipes with at least 60% alcohol before and between direct contacts with the public. Any order of prescription drugs would be subject to the customer providing the doctor’s prescription, as well as all laws, regulations and directives governing prescription drugs and the dispensing of prescription drugs.
3. To the extent feasible given the transportation assets, staffing and other resources available to the store, a pharmacy should provide and encourage customers to receive delivery of orders. Persons (employees or independent contractors) making the delivery should wear a face mask (a surgical face mask if available). Pharmacies should encourage delivery personnel to wash hands or use hand sanitizer or wipes with at least 60% alcohol before and between direct contacts with the public.
4. These Recommendations, as updated from time to time, will be posted on the Town website. These Recommendations are voluntary. Pharmacies are requested to notify the Town Supervisor by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they are following these recommendations (listing any exceptions), so the Town can post the names of these pharmacies on the Town website and residents can be aware of those pharmacies following these Recommendations.
5. Also, residents utilizing Curbside pickup or at home/business deliveries are advised as soon as practicable to wash their hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds at a minimum, with warm water and soap after touching the bags and delivered items, and not to touch their mouth, nose, eyes, ears, or face before washing their hands.
PAUL J. FEINER
Medical Advisory Committee:
Maura Frank, MD, Committee Chair
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Weill Cornell Medicine
Medical Director, New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Pediatric Practice
David Kudlowitz, MD,
Assistant Professor, Dept of Medicine
NYU Internal Medicine Associates, NYU Langone Health
Marc Richmond, MD, MS
Associate Professor of Pediatrics,
Division of Pediatric Cardiology
Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York
Iris Schlesinger, MD
New York Medical College - Westchester Medical Center
Nitin Gupta, MD
Dongming Cai, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Neurology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Jitanda Barmecha MD, MPH, SFHM, FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine, CUNY School of Medicine
SBH Health System, Bronx, NY
Nicole Park, FNP, CDCES
NEW YORK STATE Agriculture and Markets
ANDREW M. CUOMO RICHARD A. BALL
April 10, 2020
This guidance was created to provide owners/operators of retail grocery stores and customers with precautions to help protect New York’s vulnerable populations during this public health emergency and to clarify social distancing in retail grocery store settings.
For the purpose of this guidance, retail grocery stores shall include but are not limited to supermarkets, bodegas, bakeries, specialty markets, superstores offering groceries, and warehouse clubs.
On March 7, 2020, Governor AndrewM. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202, declaring a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. Community transmission of COVID-19 has occurred throughout New York. To minimize further spread, social distancing of at least 6 feet must be maintained between individuals, where possible.
On March 20, 2020, Governor Cuomo also announced "Matilda’s Law," which is a series of recommendations to protect New York’s most vulnerable populations, including individuals who are 70 years of age or older, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying illnesses, from contracting COVID-19. These New Yorkers should stay home and limit visitation to immediate family members or close friends who are in need of assistance.
Retail grocery stores should allow only seniors and people with compromised immune systems to shop between the hours of 6:00 am and 8:00 am, during the first hour when the store opens, or prior to opening the store to the general public, if possible.
Additionally, retail grocery stores should follow and use the guidance set forth by Governor
Andrew M. Cuomo, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the Department of Health (DOH), including "Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Food Manufacturing Facilities or Food Retail Stores for COVID-19", and the "STOP THE SPREAD" poster.
Retail grocery stores should post the following, or similar, at the entrances of each of their retail stores:
*** NOTICE TO ALL CUSTOMERS ***
IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
SENIORS AND IMMUNOCOMPROMISED PEOPLE ARE ADVISED TO SHOP BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 6:00AM AND 8:00AM, DURING THE FIRST HOUR OF OPERATION, OR
PRIOR TO THE STORE OPENING TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC
To help prevent spread of COVID-19, procedures and supplies should be in place and available to encourage proper hand and respiratory hygiene, as well as routine cleaning and disinfection of high-risk locations (e.g., restrooms, entrances, exits, point of sale terminals, etc.) , at all retail grocery stores. Procedures should be in place to sanitize frequent touchpoints throughoutthe day, including point of sale terminals at registers.
Signage promoting social distancing and good hygiene should be posted in a conspicuous plæe and all employees should be reminded of the protocols set forth in the State’s Retail Food Store Guidance.
Retail grocery stores should also implement the following in-store safety measures:
Promote a 6-foot social distance for employees and customers, wherever possible. Retail grocery stores should consider using an indicator, such as a floor marker, in the check-out line or in any location where customers may congregate (e.g. the deli line, the meat or fish counter, etc.), to depict where customers should stand to maintain a 6 foot distance between one another.
Retail grocery stores should strive to minimize the touch points on retail products and customers should be encouraged to bag their own purchases, if possible.
Seek to limit the number of customers in the store, at any given time, to 50% of the store’s capacity, inclusive of employees.
Provide disinfecting wipes at points of entrance for customers to disinfed carts, at cash registers, and/or other appropriate locations, as practicable.
Ensure hot or cold pre-prepared food is available for delivery or take-out only.
Eliminate any free open samples or tasting, including deli slices or prepared food.
Clearly post signs outside and inside the store to remind people to:
Have one family member shop at a time, if possible.
Properly discard personal protective equipment. Do not leave it in the stores or shopping carts.
Adhere to limitations placed on the number of people allowed in the store
Adhere to special shopping times for seniors and immunocompromised people.
Do not discriminate against individuals wearing a face covering.
Provide access to handwashing facilities, including public restrooms, as well as alcoholbased hand sanitizer, as practicable.
Retail grocery stores should also implement the following safety measures for their employees:
Allow workers to wear personal protective equipment, including facemasks and gloves. These may be provided to employees, if available.
As possible, allow workers considered vulnerable to COVID-19 (e.g. the people considered under Matilda’s Law) to alternate assignments with less exposure to customers, or, as able, allow them to stay home.
Close the store for a period of time each day to allow for proper cleaning and/or disinfecting, as practicable.
Allow employees sufficient break time to wash their hands, when necessary.
Adhere to the cleaning guidance set forth by DOH and the CDC:
DOHhttps://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/03/cleaningfoodst orescovid-19. pdf
For additional information on New York State’s respond to COVID-19, please visit:
New York State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Webpage https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Webpage https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/