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Walgreens spends $35 million to reopen looted Chicago stores

With a few sites still to go, company also expands health screenings in Chatham.

A Walgreens mobile pharmacy at 11 E. 75th St.
A Walgreens mobile pharmacy at 11 E. 75th St.
Provided

Walgreens said Wednesday it is spending $35 million to reopen Chicago stores hit by looting and vandalism in recent months and to expand health services in Chatham under a pilot program Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to see expanded to the West Side.

The pharmacy chain said 70 of its 118 city locations sustained damage in recent weeks amid unrest connected to national anger over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. All but six of the stores have reopened and the rest will be completed “as quickly as possible,” a Walgreens spokeswoman said.

She later added that another store at 4000 W. 59th St. must be completely rebuilt. It was gutted by a suspected arson fire following a looting incident.

The company said two locations are operating as mobile pharmacies while the sites are being rebuilt and one outlet is operating only as a drive-through. The mobile pharmacies are at 11 E. 75th St. and 1213 W. 79th St.; the drive-thru is at 10300 S. Michigan Ave.

Deerfield-based Walgreens said it will roll out a pilot program in Chatham called Health Equity. It said the community has exhibited a high incidence of conditions such as diabetes and asthma. The program will enlist Black churches and other organizations in a partnership for more health screenings, consultations regarding asthma and diabetes and free flu shots.

A Chicago police vehicle sits in front of a boarded up Walgreens at 8628 South Cottage Grove Ave.v on Monday, June 1 after a string of looting that occurred throughout the city.
A Chicago police vehicle sits in front of a boarded up Walgreens at 8628 South Cottage Grove Ave.v on Monday, June 1 after a string of looting that occurred throughout the city amid protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Walgreens provided a statement from Lightfoot that said, in part: “By working closely with community partners like Walgreens, we can help ensure that essential pharmacy services remain available to the communities that rely on them the most, improve and provide education on these services, and get that much closer to closing health gaps for our most vulnerable neighborhoods once and for all.”

The mayor has called for similar programs to target health disparities on the West Side. Walgreens said it would work with the city and others to expand Health Equity.

“Improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve guides everything we do, and we know there is great need, as well as opportunity, to assist the patients we serve on their journey to better health,” said John Standley, Walgreens president. “By learning more about the particular health needs in these areas and tailoring our pharmacy services to help address them, we can continue to make an impact as part of our commitment to Chicago, and with pharmacists our customers know and trust.”

The Walgreens stores yet to reopen are at 833 W. 115th St., 200 W. Adams St., 79 W. Monroe St., 1533 E. 67th St., 5036 S. Cottage Grove Ave. and 1320 E. 47th St.

The chain said it is extending its offer of free one- to two-day delivery of prescriptions through the end of the year. It also said it is prioritizing underserved communities as it expands its COVID-19 testing sites.

Meanwhile, Walgreens competitor CVS reported that all 31 of its Chicago sites that sustained damage during the looting have been repaired and reopened.