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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Americans are expected to spend their third stimulus checks on clothes, home improvement, and dining out – and it could boost stores like Kohl’s and Home Depot

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  • Outdoor dining and home improvement stores will benefit from Americans spending stimulus checks.
  • Value retailers like Walmart and Dollar General will also benefit, as in the past, Jefferies said.
  • Past stimulus checks have provided a crucial boost to the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Retailers and restaurants are poised to see a boost in Americans buying goods if President Joe Biden signs the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, as expected.

Apparel, home improvement, outdoor dining, and travel companies are set to benefit from Americans who receive the extra $1,400 in their bank accounts, analysts at Jefferies said in a Monday note.

After the last stimulus checks in January, retail sales that month saw an 8.9% bump, indicating consumers want to spend the extra dollars, Jefferies said. This time around, the checks, which in most cases are more than twice the amount of January’s, could boost sales once again.

Read more: Buy these 14 stocks set to go into overdrive as consumers’ stimulus checks arrive in March, Cowen says

Some retailers who didn’t see much of a lift in the last stimulus round because of the “dead of winter” will likely benefit this time because of the spring season. With the nice weather, home-improvement projects and outdoor dining will be on the rise, so Home Depot, Lowe’s, Olive Garden-owner Darden Restaurants, and Outback Steakhouse-owner Bloomin’ Brands are poised to benefit. Apparel stores such as Ross and Burlington Coat Factory also will see a bump, per the report.

The January spending bill increased Americans’ year-over-year spending 20%, according to Bank of America research. Those who received the checks also spent 30% more on their credit cards than people who didn’t. Value-based retailers, like Walmart, Kohl’s, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General, saw an increase from the January checks, and they’ll “see outsized benefits” this time around, too, Jefferies said.

Companies most affected by shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago were department, clothing, and shoe stores, along with restaurants and furniture stores, Jefferies said. Those same companies are now likely to “generate the most opportunistic areas for spring 2021 stimulus benefit,” the note said.

One survey, however, wasn’t as optimistic that spending would ensue from the next round of stimulus checks. The survey, conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by Bloomberg, found that 34% of Americans, many of whom lived in wealthier households, planned on putting the $1,400 into savings.

In April last year, many Americans received the first round of stimulus checks, worth $1,200. Most people used the money to buy the basics: groceries and medicine. Many also used the cash to buy takeout meals and even streaming and gaming services as they hunkered down at home. Big box retailers like Walmart and Target posted blowout sales for that quarter last year, saying stimulus checks were largely to thank.

At the time, the checks gave the economy a crucial boost, according to experts. Now, on the third round of government spending as the federal debt increases, President Joe Biden has said, “now is the time to go big,” adding that the government can’t spend too much to help the economy.

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Retail trade group slams Texas and Mississippi for lifting mask mandates, saying it puts workers at risk

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Joanne Millar store manger of Joules in Belfast places a sign in the shop window advising customers that face masks must be worn at all times as face coverings are now compulsory for shoppers.

  • Texas and Mississippi governors announced mask mandates will be lifted.
  • Retail trade group RILA opposes the moves and calls it a “premature victory celebration.”
  • Retail workers have had to enforce mask rules and risk dangerous confrontations in the last year.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott just announced the lifting of the state’s mask mandate by an executive order effective on March 10. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves also announced that state mask mandates would be lifted and businesses would be allowed to operate at full capacity beginning March 3. The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) has already opposed the move, Nathaniel Meyersohn at CNN reported.

RILA counts as members some of the biggest retailers in the country, including Target, Walmart, Lowes, Walgreens, and Dollar General.

“Relaxing common-sense safety protocols like wearing masks is a mistake. We are certainly supportive of governors re-opening their economies and giving beleaguered restaurants and other small businesses the opportunity to rebuild and rehire workers,” RILA Executive Vice President of Communications and State Affairs Jason Brewer told Insider in an email. “But going backwards on safety measures will unfairly put retail employees back in the role of enforcing guidelines still recommended by the CDC and other public health advocates. It could also jeopardize the safety of pharmacies and grocers that are gearing up as vaccination centers.”

Several RILA members are also vaccine distribution sites, including CVS and Wegmans. 

“Tremendous strides have been made in recent weeks lowering the rate of COVID-19 infections and vaccinating seniors and other vulnerable populations. We should not jeopardize this progress with a premature victory celebration,” Brewer said. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, US retail workers have been tasked with the job of enforcing mask policies. Employees were left in the difficult position of not having official mask policies, or not being allowed to ask customers to mask up.

Some customers have refused to wear masks for political reasons, and encounters have even turned violent, with workers shot or assaulted for asking customers to wear masks. Of stores that did not let employees enforce mask rules, spokespeople cited concerns for employee safety.

Texas has the most COVID-19 hotspots of any US state, with 10 counties reporting more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents over the past week. Infection rate counts were artificially low in late February when a severe storm overtook much of the state, but numbers are starting to rebound.

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