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With Some Stores Still Recovering From Damage During Civil Unrest, Walgreens Opens Mobile Pharmacies

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Some stores are still recovering from damage after George Floyd's death and the unrest that followed.

But some people still need prescriptions, and Walgreens is setting up makeshift pharmacies on the South Side.

CBS 2's Tim McNicholas took us there Thursday to show us the temporary lifeline.

Broken glass and empty shelves was not what Reginald Jones wanted to see in the Walgreens at 75th and State streets. But he said it was a big improvement from a couple weeks ago.

"Product was all throughout the store. It was rummaged," Jones said. "You could tell that different things had happened as well fires had started."

Jones is a regional manager with Walgreens, who used to work as an assistant and then as a store manager at the 75th and State Street store.

Jones said hundreds of people picked up their prescriptions at the store every day before they had to shut it down.

"The fire started in the pharmacy," Jones said.

He said waiting until the store was fully repaired and ready to open was not an option. His team had to generate a plan, fast.

So Walgreens launched a mobile pharmacy in the parking lot. You can wait in a tent until your name is called, and then you go to a table, where the staff will get you your prescription.

"I'm from the South Side of Chicago. This is where I shop," Jones said. "So it just means that much more to me on a personal level that we're working so hard to get this in place."

Pharmacists were preparing prescriptions out of a trailer.

Michele Walker used the pharmacy Wednesday for her daughter's asthma medicine.

"It was crazy – hurt a lot of people in the neighborhood because some people can't get out far," Walker said. "But I'm glad to see they're trying to reopen now."

The company said about 75 of their Chicago stores sustained some damage, and many of them are now back open.

Despite boards on the windows, the Walgreens at 86th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue is back up and running.

Jones said there is no date set yet on when the 75th and State store might reopen. He said some floor tiles and parts of the walls still need to be replaced.

But for now, he's glad to see some familiar faces picking up and preparing prescriptions.

Walgreens plans to open a second mobile pharmacy at 79th Street and Racine Avenue. It could open as soon as later Thursday.

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