CVS to hire 50,000 in response to coronavirus demand

Angelica LaVito

CVS Health Corp. said it plans to hire 50,000 people in full-time, part-time and temporary jobs to tackle surging demand for drugstore services and health goods during the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.

The drugstore chain said it plans to hire store workers, delivery drivers, distribution center workers and customer service employees. CVS and other pharmacies are inundated with people stocking up on medications, health and household items. Prescription delivery is up nearly 300% since CVS waived fees earlier this month, CVS spokesman T.J. Crawford said in an email.

CVS’ hiring push is one side of a brutal, rapid economic shift as tourism, restaurant and other services industries lay off huge numbers of workers in response to plummeting demand because of coronavirus fears and lockdowns. As Americans stay at home, they’re ordering goods online and going to drug and grocery stores to stock up.

The drugstore chain plans to hire furloughed workers from existing clients like Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Marriott International Inc., using virtual job fairs and interviews to hire at a time when Americans are being told to limit in-person contact and stay home.

CVS isn’t alone. Rival drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. on Sunday said it plans to hire more than 9,500 people, while Inc. plans to hire 100,000, and Walmart Inc. 150,000.

CVS store employees and other hourly workers will also get bonuses between $150 and $500, the Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based chain said in a statement.

“Our colleagues have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to providing essential goods and services at a time when they’re needed most,” CVS CEO Larry Merlo said in the statement.

The company will also offer child and elder care for workers. Part-time employees will have access to some paid time off for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CVS operates about 9,900 drugstores in the U.S., and last year had annual retail and pharmacy sales of $85.9 billion.