Covid-19: US New Jersey Pharmacist speaks out

“It’s a lot different. We have to take credit cards on the phone to pay for everything. We’re allowed to sign Covid, so that the patient doesn’t have to come inside. So it’s different. There’s more steps involved.” – Pharmacist Shelia Riesco

“Bird Waving” by kiszka king is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New Jersey is a Covid-19 Hotspot in the US

According to the Center for Disease Control, over 149,000 Covid-19 related cases have been reported in the state of New Jersey. Furthermore, New Jersey is currently listed as one of the top hotspots for the Coronavirus in the United States.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy originally issued a Stay-at-Home Order on 21 March; furthermore, as of last week Governor Murphy has extended the Stay-at-Home order another 30 days. 


The Stay-at-Home Order restricts those non-essential workers from going outside their homes. Moreover,  pharmacists are deemed as essential workers during this pandemic, and have had to take extra precautionary measures to ensure everybody’s safety at this time.

Pharmacist Shelia Riesco, who works at an independent pharmacy in Wall Township, New Jersey spoke with me about the challenges she and her colleagues have faced and how they have managed to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

US Pharmacist interview

Pharmacist Shelia Riesco

 Pharmacist Riesco said, she and her colleagues do have a system in place to ensure herself, her colleagues, and their customers are kept safe during this pandemic. 

“Basically, we have a set up down at the end of the pharmacy for pick up. Only one person is allowed in one at a time, or we can do curb side delivery where we can go out and actually bring stuff to their car, while also wearing our masks and our gloves. 

I think they like curb side delivery.”

-NJ Pharmacist Shelia Riesco

“File:MOH COVID-19-A4-store-poster FA.pdf” by New Zealand Government is licensed under CC BY 4.0 

Pharmacist Riesco also said, their customers have been very cooperative at this time and have been mindful of the social distancing policies that have been put in place. 

“We haven’t had a problem. People seem to understand that they need to stay distant.”

-NJ Pharmacist Shelia Riesco

For pharmacists, they do have to take all of the safety precautions in order to keep the customers and their staff safe, which means they have had to do a lot of things differently in order to do just that. 

“It’s a lot different. We have to take credit cards on the phone to pay for everything. We’re allowed to sign Covid, so that the patient doesn’t have to come inside. So it’s different. There’s more steps involved.” 

-NJ Pharmacist Shelia Riesco

Who has been the most affected?

Pharmacist Shelia Riesco, also mother of two, said her kids have been most affected as both of them have had to stop going to school, two months earlier than a normal expected school year, while also trying to complete their classes online from home. 

“The family has been most affected, especially the kids. They have to stay in inside. They have to do online school. Online schooling is not as easy it seems like it was going to be – they are having troubles with that.”

-NJ Pharmacist Shelia Riesco

Pharmacist Shelia said, she is grateful for the technology that is available, such as Zoom, because it has enabled her kids to keep in touch with their friends.

“Thank God that they are able to Zoom with their friends, because if they didn’t have that I think it would be a lot worse.”

-Pharmacist Shelia Riesco

When the lockdown lifts

When the lockdown does start to ease and Pharmacist Riesco’s pharmacy is able to fully open and allow more customers into the pharmacy, Pharmacist Riesco said that they still plan to take the necessary precautions that are needed in order to keep themselves and their customers safe.

“We are putting up some shields, so that when we are able to actually open the doors and allow more people to come in, we’ll be set up. We are going to have a period of time before this is all settled and we’ll open up, but we will still need to keep some sort of barriers in place for safety. It’s going to be one step at a time.”

-NJ Pharmacist Shelia Riesco

Full interview featured below: To watch the full interview with Pharmacist Shelia Riesco and how else the Covid-19 pandemic has affected her press ▶️ on the video below👇🏻. 

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