Bob Matheson opened Bob’s Pharmacy in Tignish in 1975. Since 2016, the pharmacy has been operated by his son Scott and his wife Crystal. Presently, there are five full-time staff members who have quickly adapted to the changes required to provide safe essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Measures that were set in place to ensure safety of services and safety of the staff include the following:
- Installation of Plexiglas to protect the dispensary staff and front cash staff
- Floor markers to remind customers of the six-foot self-distancing rule
- A hand sanitizer dispenser at the front door of the store with a reminder to sanitize when entering the store
- The front counter is sanitized after every customer interaction, and the debit machine is continuously wiped down.
“The entire store is cleaned and wiped down frequently, and I have hired extra staff to assist in cleaning during the latter part of the day,” says Crystal. “We have also reduced the number of customers we allow in the store at one time to avoid congestion.”
“We are now taking a lot more orders called in by phone, email, and texts to our personal phones, and some use our diem® health Guardian app. For the most part, things are working well and our customers are receiving their medication and other essential products required during this pandemic.
“Customers are paying by credit card by phone and taking advantage of our parking lot delivery. Some customers call in their orders, including front shop items. We do all their shopping for them and they pick up at the front cash or the parking lot. Some customers who are in isolation are taking advantage of our free home delivery option. We’re trying to make things as easy and as risk free as possible for our customers and for us.”
Crystal says their dedicated staff works diligently to ensure everything runs efficiently. “We are meeting the demands along with following all safety requirements.”
Things were challenging at first. “This new way of life was something new for everyone and it took some getting used to. It was scary at first both for customers and for our staff until we were able to implement safety measures. Everyone has been so nice and understanding. Most people have been very patient and willing to work with us to follow the new guidelines.”
Crystal says it is challenging to obtain personal protective gear that customers are looking for, such as rubbing alcohol, oral thermometers, gloves, hand sanitizer, and more.
“The 30-day restriction on prescription medication supply was a bit challenging at first. It took just a little longer with every customer to explain the new situation and to eliminate the panic people were battling. Our supplier was limiting a lot of things like inhalers and medications, including over the counters meds such as Tylenol, Advil, and cold medications.
“More responsibility was being put on Pharmacists, because Doctors and other medical staff were seeing patients for essential reasons only. This resulted in more phone calls and patients turning to the Pharmacist for advice and counselling. At first, things were a little trying until we developed guidelines and ways of dealing between us, the doctors, and patients.”
Crystal says her crew has really stepped up to the plate to adapt to the new norm. “We are all working together to continue to provide our customers with the safest way to make these transitions as seamless as possible so that they can still expect the professional and prompt service they have come to know and love in dealing with us here at Bob’s Pharmacy.”
About the staff
Barbara AuCoin, Pharmacist is here from Saskatchewan filling a maternity leave
Beverly Paynter, Pharmacy Technician
Bonnie Arsenault, Customer Service Specialist
Scott Matheson, Owner/Pharmacy Technician, is focusing on Tignish Senior Home
Crystal Matheson, Owner/Store Manager
Employed with the Pharmacy but not presently working:
Bob Matheson, Pharmacist – Casual
Jody Ellsworth, term position
Amanda Rennie, Pharmacist – maternity leave
Cali Pineau, Pharmacy Technician – maternity leave
Jenna Matthews, Pharmacy Technician – maternity leave
by Ruby Arsenault
Cutline: Bonnie Arsenault, Customer Service Specialist