Predictability Around Shutdowns is Critical for Community Pharmacies During the Pandemic
Pharmacy Times® interviewed Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly M. Schulz on the economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on small businesses, such as community pharmacies, and ways of supporting these businesses during the pandemic and beyond.
Schulz explained that discussions among economists have taken place since the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown regarding what the economic recovery was going to look like, even though the duration of the shutdown remained unknown.
“In the state of Maryland, the process of reopening and getting back to economic growth and expansion has been a very slow process, it's been very deliberate, and it's been very much according to the plan that the governor had. What we know is the hardship that these small businesses have had, they cannot afford to suffer that hardship again. So by us taking a very slow methodical way in order to be able to look at each reopening to see if there's any additional outbreaks in between, waiting at least 14 days to see how the community spread was going to respond to some additional openings, Maryland has not had the issues that other states have had,” Schulz said.
She noted that no matter what industry a small business may be a part of, a sense of predictability regarding the future is crucial.
“By opening really fast and then not knowing if you have to close really fast, there's no predictability in that for small businesses. By us working with every industry to give them a plan about what the future could look like when we do reopen, I think that provides them with a little bit more predictability for the health care industry or the tourism industry. We want to be able to make sure that moving forward, there's a step in the progression mode as opposed to any steps backwards,” Schulz said.
Schulz also discussed what could be done to better support small businesses during the pandemic and beyond, what the role of retail pharmacies and community pharmacies is during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what the value of the pharmacist is during the pandemic.