• May 21, 2020
Pharmacist Tania Gaskin Cook is “flat out” at work during level two. Photo: Brianna Stewart.
An Auckland pharmacist is happy to be getting some normality back under Covid-19 level two restrictions.
Tania Gaskin Cook says customers are now allowed into the shop to browse when previously they were stopped at the door.
She thinks people are beginning to understand the magnitude of the pandemic and are becoming accustomed to the change in how things work.
Hand sanitiser is placed directly in the doorway for customers to use on arrival and a plastic screen separates them from staff.
Ms Gaskin Cook says lockdown conditions were a challenge, especially keeping staff safe.
Face masks were sold out and they were not certain exactly what protective measures needed to be in place to protect themselves.
“If one of us got sick, we would probably have to stand down the whole pharmacy,” Ms Gaskin Cook said.
Pharmacy staff were split into two groups during lockdown and had no contact with each other to avoid a potential total shutdown of business.
They alternated each week working in a customer-facing position and doing non-contact work at a secondary location.
Pharmacists were administering flu vaccines and providing other hands-on services in people’s cars to avoid bringing them inside.
Ms Gaskin Cook says the number of phone calls from customers about their prescription status was debilitating.
A system where customers are notified by text when their script is ready was implemented to combat the near constant distractions.
The pharmacy also experienced people attempting to stockpile medicine at the beginning of lockdown.
Stockpiling was stopped by PHARMAC’s decision to limit dispensing of medicine to a maximum of one-month’s supply at a time.