March 26, 2020

Walgreens announced plans to hire more than 9,500 employees in the coming days and implement senior hours and "social distancing lines" to help protect shoppers from exposure to the new coronavirus, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Illinois, and Virginia.

  • California: Kaiser Permanente on Tuesday announced that it has canceled construction of its $900 million new headquarters in Oakland due to "[d]elays and increasing costs." The planned 1.6 million-square-foot office tower would have served as the workspace for 7,200 Kaiser employees who currently work across seven East Bay offices (Modern Healthcare, 3/24).

  • Illinois: Walgreens on Sunday announced that it plans to hire more than 9,500 full-time, part-time, and temporary employees in the coming days and, starting in late April, the company will give $300 bonuses to full-time workers and $150 bonuses to part-time workers. The company also announced that, in an effort to reduce older Americans' exposure to the new coronavirus, its stores will implement a senior hour every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., during which only senior Americans will be able to shop. Further, the company said its stores' checkout counters will feature "social-distancing lines," which are lines marked on the ground six feet apart to help keep customers safely distanced from each other (Anderson, Becker's Hospital Review, 3/24).

  • Virginia: Liberty University earlier this week allowed students to return to campus, sparking concerns about the potential spread of the new coronavirus on the campus. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has issued orders limiting public and private gatherings in the state to 10 people and has expressed concerns about Liberty's move to allow students back on campus. Jerry Falwell, Liberty's president, said the university is conducting most of its classes online and is "abiding by the letter of the law" (Svrluga/Vozzella, Washington Post, 3/24).

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