CVS inadvertently leaked a database containing 1 billion data points, including searches for medications and COVID-19 vaccines

cvs pandemic customers store
A cybersecurity researcher discovered a CVS database containing 1 billion data points, including searches for COVID-19 vaccines and medications.

  • In March, a cybersecurity researcher discovered a CVS database including 1 billion data points.
  • It contained searches for COVID-19 vaccines and medications, the researcher said on Website Planet.
  • Researcher Jeremiah Fowler told Forbes CVS took the data set down within one day of him notifying the firm.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A dataset containing 1 billion data points from CVS customers, including searches for medications and COVID-19 vaccines made on CVS.com, was inadvertently posted online.

Cybersecurity researcher Jeremiah Fowler discovered a non-password protected database belonging to CVS Health on March 31. Fowler posted his findings on Website Planet.

The data consisted of searches for medications, COVID-19 vaccines, and other CVS products, Fowler reported. Some searches contained email addresses and “Visitor IDs” that could have matched searches with personal identifying information.

Read more: How DNA-testing startup Helix became one of the nation’s leading coronavirus tracking labs

Fowler told Forbes he did not download the full dataset for ethical reasons, as he did not want to collect personal data. The researcher added CVS took down public access to the database within one day of Fowler notifying them.

CVS said in a statement to Forbes “an unnamed third party was responsible for controlling the information.”

“The bad part about this finding was just how big it was,” Fowler told Forbes in an interview. “In a small sampling of records there were emails from all major email providers.”

CVS did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Pharmacy stocks tumble on report Amazon is weighing a push into physical pharmacies

Amazon Pharmacy

Shares of drug retailers including Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS dropped on Wednesday, as Amazon was reported to be looking at options to set up physical pharmacy locations in the US.

Talks at Amazon about setting up standalone pharmacies are mostly exploratory and there are no firm plans to open physical locations, three people familiar with the matter told Insider. Such a move would be part of a plan by the online retail behemoth to earn a larger share of the country’s $370 billion prescription drug market.

Shares of Walgreens fell by as much as 5.7% then pared the loss to 3.5%. Rite Aid tumbled by 6.4% before trimming the decline to 2.1%. CVS was down 1.7% after a pullback of nearly 4%. In the retail pharmacy space, the trading wiped out $6 billion in market value within an hour of the report’s publication.

Meanwhile, shares of drug wholesalers AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health shed 0.6% but were off session lows. McKesson moved down 1.1%.

November marked the launch of Amazon Pharmacy, through which people purchase their prescription medications online and receive them with two-day shipping if they have a Prime membership. Amazon entered the business of prescription-drug sales when it purchased online pharmacy PillPack in 2018.

Amazon embarking on any meaningful rollout of stores could take more than a year, one source told Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Kroger, Costco, Target, and more are dropping mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers. Here’s how stores are responding to new CDC guidelines.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers wearing masks at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July.

  • The CDC relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated people.
  • Companies including Macy’s and Kroger have said workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask mandates. States can still set their own rules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people – but not all retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Macy’s and Kroger are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask requirement – although individual states can still mandate masks in stores.

Here’s where fully vaccinated people will and will not have to wear a mask now that the guidance has changed.

Target

mask target store
Shoppers leaving a Target in Miami.

Target updated its policies on Monday, announcing that fully vaccinated customers and workers are no longer required to wear masks in its stores unless required by individual state laws. 

“Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we’ll continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores,” it said

 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wearing a mask in a Kroger store in Jackson, Mississippi.

On May 20, grocery chain Kroger will be dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers and the majority of its workers, the company announced on Wednesday. However, employees working in Kroger’s pharmacies and clinics will still have to mask up.

Like other stores, the option to go mask-free still depends on state and local face covering protocols. 

 

Starbucks

Starbucks barista
A Starbucks barista.

Wearing a mask will be optional for fully vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, the company said in a statement.

Masks will remain optional “unless local regulations require them by law,” the statement said.

Macy’s

macys
A person with Macy’s bags.

The department-store chain Macy’s confirmed to Insider that it would keep masks mandatory in its stores.

Walmart

Walmart
A Walmart store.

Vaccinated Walmart customers are now allowed to shop without a mask, according to a memo sent to US store associates on Friday. Fully vaccinated Walmart workers also won’t be required to mask up in-store beginning May 18.

However, the company is still reviewing mask mandates for “certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes,” and will still adhere to mask requirements depending on city and state protocols, according to the note.

Bed Bath and Beyond

bed bath & beyond
A Bed Bath and Beyond store.

A spokesperson for Bed Bath and Beyond told Insider that it was reviewing its policies, but that its mask policy currently remains unchanged.

They added that the company would continue to align its COVID-19 protocol with local, state, and government health and safety guidelines to create a safe environment for both staff and customers.

Home Depot

Home Depot
A Home Depot store.

Fully vaccinated Home Depot customers and workers will not need to wear masks inside its stores, depending on state and local mandates, a spokesperson told Insider on May 17.

Home Depot “still encourages” people who aren’t fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings. It’ll also maintain safety protocols like cleaning and social distancing.

 

Walgreens

walgreens masks
A sign in a Walgreens store telling customers to wear masks.

A Walgreens spokesperson told USA Today that masks will still be mandatory in its stores as these are COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites. 

Walgreens did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

CVS

CVS NYC
People outside a CVS store.

CVS said it was reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

Gap

gap store
A Gap store in a mall in Los Angeles, California.

According to The Times, Gap has said it’s reviewing its policies and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory. 

A spokesperson for the apparel giant did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment. 

Publix

Publix grocery store night
A Publix.

Florida-based supermarket chain Publix is no longer requiring masks for fully vaccinated shoppers.

Dollar General

dollar general
A Dollar General store.

When asked about updated mask policies, a Dollar General spokesperson directed Insider to its website. The US chain’s COVID-19 protocols were last updated on March 10 and include a mask mandate.

Ulta

ulta
An Ulta store.

Ulta is “assessing the implications” of the new CDC guidelines, a spokesperson told Insider. The beauty giant said it would continue to enforce mask and social-distancing protocols “until our assessment is complete and we are able to share more.”

Carl’s Jr

Carl's Jr. Restaurant
Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr is still requiring face masks but is now reviewing its mask policy, a Carl’s Jr spokesperson told Insider.

Costco

Costco
Costco

Costco announced on Friday that customers can now shop without a mask in stores that are located in states without a mask mandate. The retailer will not require proof of vaccination.

However, as per CDC guidelines, face masks will still be required in Costco’s healthcare sections, including its pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid divisions.

Trader Joe’s

trader joes
Customers line up outside a Trader Joe’s store.

Trader Joe’s is also dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers, and will not require proof of the vaccine, a spokesperson told Insider.

Lidl

Lidl

A spokesperson for Lidl told Insider that it was updating its policies to align with the new CDC guidance.

“Wherever legally permissible, fully vaccinated customers will be allowed into our stores without masks,” they said.

Ikea

ikea
Customers wait to get inside Ikea.

An Ikea spokesperson told Insider that its mask and social-distancing protocols would stay in place “for the time being” for both staff and customers because “changing our mask policy for requires careful consideration and planning.”

JCPenney

FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside

Department store chain JCPenney told Insider that masks and social distancing will still be required in its stores as it continues to monitor the situation.

Apple

Apple store

Apple is also keeping masks mandatory in stores for the time being, according to a Bloomberg report. 

Insider reached out to Apple for further comment but didn’t immediately hear back.

CVS

cvs pandemic customers store
CVS.

Fully vaccinated CVS Pharmacy customers will no longer be required to wear face masks unless state or local protocols dictate otherwise, the company announced on Monday.

Employees and unvaccinated patrons will still be required to mask up.

Meijer

meijer
A Meijer store.

Supermarket chain Meijer has rolled back its mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers in stores where state and local protocols allow it to do so, a spokesperson told Insider in an email.

However, workers and unvaccinated patrons must remain masked.

Kohl’s

kohl's

Kohl’s confirmed to Insider that as of May 17 all fully vaccinated store workers and customers will be able to go mask-free, provided individual states allow it. 

Aldi

Aldi store shop

Aldi told Insider that it is continuing to require all employees and customers to wear a face covering and to maintain social distancing, but added that it would continue to assess its COVID-19 safety practices and keep customers informed of any future changes.

Office Depot

office depot
An Office Depot store in Annapolis.

Office Depot is currently reviewing its mask policy, a spokesperson told Insider on May 18, but will not be changing it or other COVID-19 safety protocols “immediately.”

Best Buy

Best Buy
Best Buy.

Best Buy dropped its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers and in-store workers On May 18. Like other retailers, the option to go mask-free still hinges on state and local protocols. 

Lush

People stand inside a Lush cosmetics store in Berlin, Germany, July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
People stand inside a Lush cosmetics store in Berlin

A Lush spokesperson told Insider that it was reviewing the new CDC guidelines and planning its next times. It said that the safety of its staff and customers remained its “top priority.”

Subway

subway sandwich

A Subway spokesperson told Insider that the sandwich chain was evaluating its mask policy following the CDC guidance.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Home Depot, Costco, Target, and more are dropping mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers. Here’s how stores are responding to new CDC guidelines.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers wearing masks at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July.

  • The CDC relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated people.
  • Companies including Macy’s and Kroger have said workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask mandates. States can still set their own rules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people – but not all retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Macy’s and Kroger are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask requirement – although individual states can still mandate masks in stores.

Here’s where fully vaccinated people will and will not have to wear a mask now that the guidance has changed.

Target

mask target store
Shoppers leaving a Target in Miami.

Target updated its policies on Monday, announcing that fully vaccinated customers and workers are no longer required to wear masks in its stores unless required by individual state laws. 

“Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we’ll continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores,” it said

 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wearing a mask in a Kroger store in Jackson, Mississippi.

The grocery chain Kroger said it would keep masks mandates for its customers and workers at its nearly 3,000 stores.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy,” a Kroger spokesperson told Insider.

Starbucks

Starbucks barista
A Starbucks barista.

Wearing a mask will be optional for fully vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, the company said in a statement.

Masks will remain optional “unless local regulations require them by law,” the statement said.

Macy’s

macys
A person with Macy’s bags.

The department-store chain Macy’s confirmed to Insider that it would keep masks mandatory in its stores.

Walmart

Walmart
A Walmart store.

Vaccinated Walmart customers are now allowed to shop without a mask, according to a memo sent to US store associates on Friday. Fully vaccinated Walmart workers also won’t be required to mask up in-store beginning May 18.

However, the company is still reviewing mask mandates for “certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes,” and will still adhere to mask requirements depending on city and state protocols, according to the note.

Bed Bath and Beyond

bed bath & beyond
A Bed Bath and Beyond store.

A spokesperson for Bed Bath and Beyond told Insider that it was reviewing its policies, but that its mask policy currently remains unchanged.

They added that the company would continue to align its COVID-19 protocol with local, state, and government health and safety guidelines to create a safe environment for both staff and customers.

Home Depot

Home Depot
A Home Depot store.

Fully vaccinated Home Depot customers and workers will not need to wear masks inside its stores, depending on state and local mandates, a spokesperson told Insider on May 17.

Home Depot “still encourages” people who aren’t fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings. It’ll also maintain safety protocols like cleaning and social distancing.

 

Walgreens

walgreens masks
A sign in a Walgreens store telling customers to wear masks.

A Walgreens spokesperson told USA Today that masks will still be mandatory in its stores as these are COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites. 

Walgreens did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

CVS

CVS NYC
People outside a CVS store.

CVS said it was reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

Gap

gap store
A Gap store in a mall in Los Angeles, California.

According to The Times, Gap has said it’s reviewing its policies and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory. 

A spokesperson for the apparel giant did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment. 

Publix

Publix grocery store night
A Publix.

Florida-based supermarket chain Publix is no longer requiring masks for fully vaccinated shoppers.

Dollar General

dollar general
A Dollar General store.

When asked about updated mask policies, a Dollar General spokesperson directed Insider to its website. The US chain’s COVID-19 protocols were last updated on March 10 and include a mask mandate.

Ulta

ulta
An Ulta store.

Ulta is “assessing the implications” of the new CDC guidelines, a spokesperson told Insider. The beauty giant said it would continue to enforce mask and social-distancing protocols “until our assessment is complete and we are able to share more.”

Carl’s Jr

Carl's Jr. Restaurant
Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr is still requiring face masks but is now reviewing its mask policy, a Carl’s Jr spokesperson told Insider.

Costco

Costco
Costco

Costco announced on Friday that customers can now shop without a mask in stores that are located in states without a mask mandate. The retailer will not require proof of vaccination.

However, as per CDC guidelines, face masks will still be required in Costco’s healthcare sections, including its pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid divisions.

Trader Joe’s

trader joes
Customers line up outside a Trader Joe’s store.

Trader Joe’s is also dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers, and will not require proof of the vaccine, a spokesperson told Insider.

Lidl

Lidl

A spokesperson for Lidl told Insider that it was updating its policies to align with the new CDC guidance.

“Wherever legally permissible, fully vaccinated customers will be allowed into our stores without masks,” they said.

Ikea

ikea
Customers wait to get inside Ikea.

An Ikea spokesperson told Insider that its mask and social-distancing protocols would stay in place “for the time being” for both staff and customers because “changing our mask policy for requires careful consideration and planning.”

JCPenney

FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside

Department store chain JCPenney told Insider that masks and social distancing will still be required in its stores as it continues to monitor the situation.

Apple

Apple store

Apple is also keeping masks mandatory in stores for the time being, according to a Bloomberg report. 

Insider reached out to Apple for further comment but didn’t immediately hear back.

CVS

cvs pandemic customers store
CVS.

Fully vaccinated CVS Pharmacy customers will no longer be required to wear face masks unless state or local protocols dictate otherwise, the company announced on Monday.

Employees and unvaccinated patrons will still be required to mask up.

Meijer

meijer
A Meijer store.

Supermarket chain Meijer has rolled back its mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers in stores where state and local protocols allow it to do so, a spokesperson told Insider in an email.

However, workers and unvaccinated patrons must remain masked.

Kohl’s

kohl's

Kohl’s confirmed to Insider that as of May 17 all fully vaccinated store workers and customers will be able to go mask-free, provided individual states allow it. 

Aldi

Aldi store shop

Aldi told Insider that it is continuing to require all employees and customers to wear a face covering and to maintain social distancing, but added that it would continue to assess its COVID-19 safety practices and keep customers informed of any future changes.

Office Depot

office depot
An Office Depot store in Annapolis.

Office Depot is currently reviewing its mask policy, a spokesperson told Insider on May 18, but will not be changing it or other COVID-19 safety protocols “immediately.”

Best Buy

Best Buy
Best Buy.

Best Buy dropped its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers and in-store workers On May 18. Like other retailers, the option to go mask-free still hinges on state and local protocols. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

CVS, Walmart, Costco, Target, and others are dropping mask mandates for fully vaccinated customers. Here’s how retailers are responding to new CDC guidelines.

Walmart coronavirus shopping
Shoppers wearing masks at a Walmart store in North Brunswick, New Jersey, in July.

  • The CDC relaxed its guidelines for wearing masks indoors and outdoors for fully vaccinated people.
  • Some companies, including Macy’s and Kroger, have said workers and customers still need to wear masks.
  • But Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask mandates. States can still set their own rules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday relaxed mask guidance for fully vaccinated people – but not all retailers and restaurants aren’t ready to welcome maskless customers.

Macy’s and Kroger are among those saying they’ll still make masks mandatory for shoppers and workers in their stores. Walmart, Costco, and others have dropped their mask requirement – although individual states can still mandate masks in stores.

Here’s where fully vaccinated people will and will not have to wear a mask now that the guidance has changed.

Target

mask target store
Shoppers leaving a Target in Miami.

Target updated its policies on Monday, announcing that fully vaccinated customers and workers are no longer required to wear masks in its stores unless required by individual state laws. 

“Face coverings will continue to be strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated and we’ll continue our increased safety and cleaning measures, including social distancing, throughout our stores,” it said

 

Kroger

food donations kroger
A customer wearing a mask in a Kroger store in Jackson, Mississippi.

The grocery chain Kroger said it would keep masks mandates for its customers and workers at its nearly 3,000 stores.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we are reviewing current safety practices, the CDC’s latest guidance, and soliciting feedback from associates to guide the next phase of our policy,” a Kroger spokesperson told Insider.

Starbucks

Starbucks barista
A Starbucks barista.

Wearing a mask will be optional for fully vaccinated customers beginning Monday, May 17, the company said in a statement.

Masks will remain optional “unless local regulations require them by law,” the statement said.

Macy’s

macys
A person with Macy’s bags.

The department-store chain Macy’s confirmed to Insider that it would keep masks mandatory in its stores.

Walmart

Walmart
A Walmart store.

Vaccinated Walmart customers are now allowed to shop without a mask, according to a memo sent to US store associates on Friday. Fully vaccinated Walmart workers also won’t be required to mask up in-store beginning May 18.

However, the company is still reviewing mask mandates for “certain job codes for health and sanitation purposes,” and will still adhere to mask requirements depending on city and state protocols, according to the note.

Bed Bath and Beyond

bed bath & beyond
A Bed Bath and Beyond store.

A spokesperson for Bed Bath and Beyond told Insider that it was reviewing its policies, but that its mask policy currently remains unchanged.

They added that the company would continue to align its COVID-19 protocol with local, state, and government health and safety guidelines to create a safe environment for both staff and customers.

Home Depot

Home Depot
A Home Depot store.

Home Depot has not updated its mask policy, a spokesperson told Insider.

Walgreens

walgreens masks
A sign in a Walgreens store telling customers to wear masks.

A Walgreens spokesperson told USA Today that masks will still be mandatory in its stores as these are COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites. 

Walgreens did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

CVS

CVS NYC
People outside a CVS store.

CVS said it was reviewing its mask policy.

“The safety of our employees and customers will continue to guide our decision-making process,” the company said in a statement to Insider.

Gap

gap store
A Gap store in a mall in Los Angeles, California.

According to The Times, Gap has said it’s reviewing its policies and has not confirmed whether masks will continue to be mandatory. 

A spokesperson for the apparel giant did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment. 

Publix

Publix grocery store night
A Publix.

Florida-based supermarket chain Publix is no longer requiring masks for fully vaccinated shoppers.

Dollar General

dollar general
A Dollar General store.

When asked about updated mask policies, a Dollar General spokesperson directed Insider to its website. The US chain’s COVID-19 protocols were last updated on March 10 and include a mask mandate.

Ulta

ulta
An Ulta store.

Ulta is “assessing the implications” of the new CDC guidelines, a spokesperson told Insider. The beauty giant said it would continue to enforce mask and social-distancing protocols “until our assessment is complete and we are able to share more.”

Carl’s Jr

Carl's Jr. Restaurant
Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr is still requiring face masks but is now reviewing its mask policy, a Carl’s Jr spokesperson told Insider.

Costco

Costco
Costco

Costco announced on Friday that customers can now shop without a mask in stores that are located in states without a mask mandate. The retailer will not require proof of vaccination.

However, as per CDC guidelines, face masks will still be required in Costco’s healthcare sections, including its pharmacy, optical, and hearing aid divisions.

Trader Joe’s

trader joes
Customers line up outside a Trader Joe’s store.

Trader Joe’s is also dropping its mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers, and will not require proof of the vaccine, a spokesperson told Insider.

Lidl

Lidl

A spokesperson for Lidl told Insider that it was updating its policies to align with the new CDC guidance.

“Wherever legally permissible, fully vaccinated customers will be allowed into our stores without masks,” they said.

Ikea

ikea
Customers wait to get inside Ikea.

An Ikea spokesperson told Insider that its mask and social-distancing protocols would stay in place “for the time being” for both staff and customers because “changing our mask policy for requires careful consideration and planning.”

JCPenney

FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside, Illinois, U.S., November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A J.C. Penney employee helps a customer with her purchase at the J.C. Penney department store in North Riverside

Department store chain JCPenney told Insider that masks and social distancing will still be required in its stores as it continues to monitor the situation.

Apple

Apple store

Apple is also keeping masks mandatory in stores for the time being, according to a Bloomberg report. 

Insider reached out to Apple for further comment but didn’t immediately hear back.

CVS

cvs pandemic customers store
CVS.

Fully vaccinated CVS Pharmacy customers will no longer be required to wear face masks unless state or local protocols dictate otherwise, the company announced on Monday.

Employees and unvaccinated patrons will still be required to mask up.

Meijer

meijer
A Meijer store.

Supermarket chain Meijer has rolled back its mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers in stores where state and local protocols allow it to do so, a spokesperson told Insider in an email.

However, workers and unvaccinated patrons must remain masked.

Kohl’s

kohl's

Kohl’s confirmed to Insider that as of May 17 all fully vaccinated store workers and customers will be able to go mask-free, provided individual states allow it. 

Aldi

Aldi store shop

Aldi told Insider that it is continuing to require all employees and customers to wear a face covering and to maintain social distancing, but added that it would continue to assess its COVID-19 safety practices and keep customers informed of any future changes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

CVS is investing in healthy food and Beyond Meat burgers, which could drastically improve quality food choices to Americans in “food deserts”

beyond meat cvs
CVS has more locations nationwide than Walmart and Kroger combined.

  • CVS is bringing Beyond Meat to 7,000 stores and increasing gluten-free, vegan snacks and foods.
  • CVS, which has more US stores than Walmart and Kroger combined, could better serve “food deserts.”
  • “CVS is ubiquitous in neighborhoods and communities across America,” Beyond Meat told Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

CVS is bringing healthy foods and meat-alternatives to communities across America.

The pharmacy chain and Beyond Meat just announced a partnership that would bring meat-alternative burgers and meatballs to 7,000 stores nationwide. CVS will also add 60 new “better for you” snacks and 50 new frozen foods that are vegan, organic, gluten-free, plant based, and zero-sugar-added.

Now valued at $8.7 billion, Beyond Meat became the first plant-based meat-substitute company to go public just two years ago. The company has continued to expand by partnering with McDonald’s and Taco Bell, as traditional meat seller Tyson rushes to catch up with its own plant-based line.

The deal may suggest Beyond Meat decreasing its reliance on foodservice. Foodservice sales through restaurants that sell Beyond Meat, including Carl’s Jr. and BurgerFi, dropped 31% year-over-year in 2020, CEO Ethan Brown said on a recent earnings call.

Revenue from retail, however, increased by 108% between 2019 and 2020, but Brown said the trend will drop in 2021 as the pandemic subsides. “We’ve got a lot of room still to grow in retail,” Brown said.

The CVS partnership, which represented the first pharmacy Beyond Meat sold at, could be its first step into retail growth.

“CVS is ubiquitous in neighborhoods and communities across America, and Beyond Meat is proud to partner with them as our first pharmacy partner to bring increased choice and access to nutritious food options to their consumers,” a Beyond Meat spokesperson told Insider. “The addition of the Beyond Burger and Beyond Meatballs at CVS aligns with CVS’ larger effort to help its millions of customers make healthier choices.”

How bringing Beyond Meat to CVS could bring meat-alternatives to food deserts.

CVS sells more groceries than Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, the Guardian reported, due to the store’s prevalence in low-income areas that don’t have access to high-end grocery stores.

CVS has nearly 10,000 locations in the US, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Kroger, the company’s largest supermarket, has just 2,750 locations. Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, has 5,342 stores as of January 2021 – meaning CVS has more stores than Kroger and Walmart combined.

The lack of quality grocery stores in disproportionately low-income areas result in “food deserts,” or areas more than a mile from fresh produce-sellers that rely more on processed and pre-packaged food.

Diets that limit processed foods and sugary beverages are associated with higher life expectancy. But there’s twice as many supermarkets carrying fresh produce in higher-income areas than lower-income ones, per non-profit World of Vegan, and just 2% of meat alternatives are available in low-income areas.

Nutritionists told Insider’s Aria Bendix that Beyond Meat, though processed and just as caloric as beef burgers, is high in fiber and protein, and can provide a better alternative to red meat. Beyond Meat can also lead to fewer instances of food poisoning than when consuming beef.

Bringing Beyond Meat and other “better for you” snack options to CVS locations might lessen the reliance on junk food in “food deserts.” Better access to nutritional food would be most beneficial to Black and Latino Americans, whose communities have fewer supermarkets than their white counterparts, per Johns Hopkins.

“The expanded assortment of food items is the latest way we serve as a premier health and wellness destination, making it easier for millions of customers to access healthier choices and meal solutions without having to make extra trips to specialty and grocery stores,” a CVS spokesperson said in a statement.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I got the COVID-19 vaccine at a CVS, and it was so fast and efficient that it’s not hard to understand how the chain has already vaccinated 10 million Americans

CVS vaccine covid
  • Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 at CVS was wildly efficient and easy.
  • From signing up to checking in to the shot itself, the process was organized and concise.
  • The experience helped me to understand why CVS has already vaccinated over 10 million Americans.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

On Thursday morning, CVS announced an important milestone in the race to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus: 10 million shots delivered, and capacity to administer up to 25 million shots per month.

Later that morning, I walked into a CVS on Staten Island and became one of the next 10 million.

The process of getting vaccinated at CVS was so friendly, so efficient, and so well organized that it helped me understand why the pharmacy chain is able to vaccinate so many folks so quickly.

Earlier this week, when vaccine appointment eligibility opened to anyone in New York 30 years of age and older, I went to the CVS scheduling tool, plugged in my information, and found a surprising number of open appointments for Staten Island locations.

CVS appointment confirmation

I scheduled an appointment for Thursday morning, and received a confirmation email soon after.

As someone who’s been trying, and failing, to buy a PlayStation 5 for months, it was a surprisingly glitch-free experience using the CVS scheduling tool. I was able to simply enter information, select a time, and confirm my selection.

On Thursday morning, before embarking on the lengthy drive from the middle of Brooklyn to the middle of Staten Island, I got a text message from CVS with a link to digitally check in when I arrived at the store:

CVS vaccine check in

An hour-plus later, I parked my car and digitally signed in. Having told CVS I was at the store, I turned off my car and walked inside.

Before I could even begin to be confused as to where I should go, I spotted a check-in desk.

Immediately to the right of the entryway doors, CVS employees had created a temporary check-in desk for vaccinations:

CVS check-in for COVID vaccinations
Don’t be fooled by the desk being empty – the employee who was working the desk didn’t want to be in the photo!

There was no line, and check-ins were being handled simply: With a highlighter on paper.

After I gave my name, I was instructed to proceed down the adjacent aisle where a handful of people were already lined up on socially-distanced squares marked on the ground.

As we waited, another CVS employee with a clipboard walked down the line, took IDs, and filled out each person’s coveted CDC vaccination card with information about their first shot – it’s the card that everyone takes selfies with, even though you probably shouldn’t.

By the time I’d received my card, I was moving to the next step of the process: Checking in for a second time with an employee behind a computer who confirmed my address.

At this point, I could see the full operation. Employees had essentially set up a flexible assembly line for vaccinating people, and it was moving rapidly.

CVS vaccination lobby, Staten Island
The endpoint of vaccination, behind the blue plastic curtain, with recently vaccinated patients waiting on the left.

From where I was, the next step was getting vaccinated, and then waiting the requisite 15 minutes just in case I had a reaction.

Employees had smartly used self checkout dividers to turn their pharmacy lobby into a socially distanced waiting room. “Endcap” products were displaced for seated patients who were able to sit directly next to each other due to the dividers.

CVS vaccination area, Staten Island, NY.

The shot itself was quick, and relatively painless, as expected.

The man who gave me the shot asked if I had any questions, and I blurted out a silly question that I already knew the answer to (“When will I be fully vaccinated?”), and he kindly answered something he’s assuredly answered a thousand times already (“You’ll receive the full benefits of the vaccination two weeks after your second shot.”).

The same employee who gave me my CDC vaccination card ushered me over to the seating area and asked how I was, so I enthusiastically said I was “feeling great.” The truth, of course, is I was feeling unbelievably happy and hopeful for the first time in what feels like forever. It’s been over a year, folks! There’s no getting that time back!

She handed me a 15 minute timer, and I took a seat.

CVS vaccine waiting
You can tell I haven’t been out that much for the past year because my hat is in disarray.

About halfway through my 15-minute wait, an employee came over to ask how I was feeling once again, and I marveled at how swift and efficient their process was. She relayed how happy it made her to help people get vaccinated, and said it makes the day go all the faster.

My appointment was scheduled for 10:45 a.m., and I was back in my car on the way out of the parking lot by 11:21 a.m. I may or may not have bought Easter candy at CVS before leaving, which assuredly added a minute or two.

All in, the process took a little over half an hour from start to finish, and everyone was a delight along the way. From what I saw, it makes perfect sense that CVS is rolling through so many vaccinations so quickly – they’re doing it very well.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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CVS expands its COVID-19 vaccine program to 29 states as more doses become available

CVS pharmacy

  • The added states include Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina.
  • CVS is now administering vaccines in around 1,200 stores across 29 states, the company said.
  • Appointments for the doses in just-added states are available for booking starting Saturday, CVS said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Starting Saturday, eligible residents in another 12 states can begin booking COVID-19 vaccinations at CVS pharmacy.

This week, the vaccines rolled out to CVS locations in Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Minnesota, and Vermont.

The company is now administering vaccines in nearly 1,200 stores across 29 states and Puerto Rico, Philadelphia and New York City, CVS Health said in a statement.

“We’re increasing the number of active stores and expanding to additional states as fast as supply allows, with the capacity to administer 20 25 million shots per month,” said Karen S. Lynch, President and Chief Executive Officer, CVS Health. “We’re also focused on priority populations, including vulnerable communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic as well as teachers and school support staff.”

The expansion comes as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program that was announced by the White House last month, stipulating that over 40,000 pharmacies nationwide will receive vaccine doses to give to eligible populations.

In February, select CVS Pharmacy locations began offering COVID-19 vaccine doses in 17 states as part of the program.

President Joe Biden announced earlier this month that pre-K through 12 educators, staff, and child care workers should receive at least one shot of the two-dose vaccine by the end of March.

This eligible group made up over 30% of COVID-19 vaccine appointments at CVS pharmacies between March 3 and March 10, the company said.

Separately, the pharmacy giant said its vaccine rollout at long-term care facilities has been a “success.”

Its pharmacy teams completed providing second doses at all nursing facilities and that the third and final visits are 90% complete, CVS said. Additionally, the second vaccine doses at assisted living and other facilities are 91% complete, it said.

The company administered around 4.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , to facilitate on-site vaccinations for staff and residents at over 65,000 enrolled long-term care facilities.

On Wednesday, Target began providing vaccine doses in over 600 CVS pharmacies located inside its store locations.

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The CDC is reportedly eyeing a ‘promising’ partnership with Dollar General to bring vaccines to rural communities, and Target is expanding access to shots with in-store CVS clinics

dollar general
dollar general

  • The CDC is eyeing a potential partnership with Dollar General, USA Today reported.
  • Dollar General has locations within 10-15 miles of rural communities in 46 states, the CDC said.
  • Target is now offering vaccine doses through over 600 in-store CVS pharmacies in 17 states.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In the latest efforts to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reportedly looking a partnership with Dollar General to bring vaccines to rural communities, while Target and CVS are working together to expand the rollout in 17 states.

Target began providing vaccine doses on Wednesday in over 600 CVS pharmacies located inside its store locations, the company said in an emailed statement to Insider. Eligible people can find an appointment through CVS’s website.

Shots are available at store locations in Virginia, New York, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Hawaii, Ohio, Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, California, and Pennsylvania, the retailer said in the statement.

Target added that, “as states open up vaccines for frontline and essential workers, we’ll work with CVS and others to offer vaccines to team members within our stores and distribution centers in the future.”

Separately, the CDC is looking into working with Dollar General to expand vaccine outreach to Americans in rural areas, USA Today reported on Tuesday.

“We’re exploring a promising collaboration with Dollar General stores, which have locations that include refrigeration capacity within 10 or 15 miles of our rural communities in all but four states,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday at Health Action Alliance’s National Business Summit, according to USA Today. Dollar General has over 17,000 stores in 46 states.

Dollar General did not immediate respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Dollar General was the first retailer to announce plans to pay workers to get vaccinated. In January, the discount store said it will offer all 157,000 employees four hours worth of pay if they get the vaccine.

In February, the White House announced that over 40,000 pharmacies nationwide are set to receive vaccine doses to give to eligible people for free per the rollout of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination.

Last month, select CVS Pharmacy locations began offering around 570,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in 17 states as part of the program. CVS administered over three million vaccines and 15 million COVID-19 tests nationwide by mid-February.

The pharmacy chains and retailers partnering with the government in vaccine distribution include Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, Kroger, Publix, Costco, Albertsons, Hy-Vee, Meijer, and Winn-Dixie.

To date, 95.7 million vaccine doses have been provided to people in the US, according to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 tracker. An average of 2.17 million doses per day were administered this week, according to Bloomberg data.

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Retail advertising’s growing pains

Hi and welcome to this weekly edition of Insider Advertising, where we track the big stories in media and advertising.

Remember you can sign up to get this newsletter daily here

This week: 


CVS pharmacy

Retail advertising’s slog

It seems like every day there’s another retailer that’s trying to turn its site into an advertising platform.

Ulta Beauty, CVS and Walgreens, to name a few, have accelerated their ad businesses to capitalize on online shopping growth in the pandemic and offset shrinking retail margins.

This is welcome news to advertisers, which are eager for advertising alternatives to Amazon.

But as ad execs told Lauren Johnson, these retailers have their work cut out for them.

As they see it, retailers face stiff competition for big brands’ advertising, don’t share enough shopper data, and are inefficient to buy.

“There is a big opportunity, but most these platforms are still pretty nascent in media capability,” Jessica Richards, EVP of Havas Media Group, told Lauren. “Our prediction is this will be a big growth area in 2021 and the sophistication of targeting, sales tracking and more access to inventory via expanded sources will come soon.”

Read more: Big retailers like Walmart and CVS are trying to cash in on the soaring e-commerce ad business, but many advertisers aren’t sold


Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Google backed out Project Maven, a controversial AI project with the Pentagon, but has continued working with the agency.

Google’s ‘sweetheart deals’

Revenue-share agreements and other incentive programs have long been a contentious issue in the advertising sector. High-profile marketers have called for their agencies to provide more transparency in their contracts in recent years.

Now some rev-share agreements that Google has with a select number of adtech companies are getting new attention as smaller adtech firms struggle in the down economy and as Google faces accusations of anticompetitive behavior.

One such smaller adtech operator, Liam Patterson of Bidnamic, called these little-known RSA agreements “a kick in the teeth” for smaller adtech companies struggling to survive.

Martin Coulter and Lara O’Reilly revealed details of some of these deals, which include Google paying Marin Software more than $12 million in 2019.

Read more: Google has signed a number of little-known revenue share agreements with ad companies – but some smaller firms describe them as unfair ‘sweetheart deals’ 


Nighttime view of the New York Times Building
Nighttime view of the New York Times Building

Times a-changing

ICYMI, Steven Perlberg had a great profile on Carolyn Ryan at The New York Times, who’s seen as a contender to be its next top editor.

Ryan checks a lot of the traditional journalistic boxes one might expect of the executive editor at the Times – but also stands out as the executive supervising its most fraught topic: newsroom culture.

Her rise also reflects how newsrooms’ priorities have changed. Earlier in the shift from print to digital, a lot of their focus was on expanding their subscriptions, product expertise and storytelling abilities.

Now, with a broader social reckoning going on, diversifying their staffs and coverage has taken center stage. At the Times, that’s also meant dealing with tension and controversy that’s erupted in part as a result of expectations by its newer, more diverse staff about how much they should change the newsroom, and vice versa.

“After Dean, Carolyn has the hardest management job in the newsroom right now. Her portfolio is at the center of all the questions that are roiling the newsroom,” Nicholas Confessore, a Times reporter who has worked under Ryan, told Perlberg.

Read the full story: Carolyn Ryan is the most powerful woman in The New York Times newsroom – and she could become its next top editor 


More stories we’re reading:

That’s it for me this week. Thanks for reading, and see you next week!

– Lucia

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