EYECARE: Coronavirus BRIEFING: Crisis Response Tactics Shopko Optical Launches Reopening Plan With Patient and Staff Safety Measures in Place By Staff Thursday, May 14, 2020 12:27 AM GREEN BAY, Wis.—After temporarily closing its centers to protect patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, Shopko Optical is reopening all of its 80-plus freestanding locations in a phased approach throughout the month of May, according to an announcement this week. Although eyecare is considered essential, Shopko Optical decided it was in the best interest of the public and its employees to temporarily close its centers beginning in mid-March, as VMAIL reported. Shopko Optical continues to review and evaluate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Optometric Association (AOA), as well as various federal, state and local authorities, to ensure each center reopening protects its staff, doctors, patients, and community. Shopko Optical locations in Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin will resume essential eyecare as well as routine annual eye exams, new contact lens exams, and treatment of seasonal allergies or dry eye. Centers in Michigan and Washington will be open for essential eyecare only for the time being. Essential eyecare includes conditions such as injuries or sudden changes in eye health requiring immediate care. This includes vision loss, trauma, redness, pain, the need for an eye exam due to lost or broken eyewear, or other symptoms that significantly affect day-to-day activities.“As we reopen each location, the health and well-being of our patients and staff will continue to be our top priority,” chief executive officer Russ Steinhorst said. “We want those who enter our centers to feel confident in their safety. After thorough consideration, we are choosing to reopen in a responsible manner that aims to protect the communities we are serving.” As COVID-19 has changed the way centers are able to see patients, Shopko Optical said it plans to expand utilization of digital eye exams. The program was successfully piloted earlier this year and will be available in 20 centers by the end of June, according to the company’s announcement.As part of its reopening plan, Shopko Optical has implemented the following CDC- and AOA-recommended procedures for each center to keep its staff, patients, and the community as safe as possible:• Staff will take the temperatures of patients and staff with touchless thermometers before they enter a center. • Each center will limit the patient schedule to reduce the number of people in the facility at any given time.• To ensure proper social distancing, patients are asked to come alone unless a parent, guardian or caretaker are needed.• Masks will be worn by Shopko Optical staff, doctors and patients. Patients are asked to arrive with a face covering of their own. • The Shopko Optical team will continue the frequency of even more rigorous cleaning across highly trafficked areas such as the disinfection of optical equipment, instrumentation, eyeglass frames and all common surfaces.• Patients will be asked to reschedule appointments if they or someone in their home is experiencing any flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing, any respiratory symptoms or a loss of taste or smell, they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are waiting for test results, they have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms, or have recently traveled from somewhere outside the U.S. or on a cruise ship or riverboat.Shopko Optical also noted that for non-essential eyecare needs in Michigan and Washington, the Shopko Optical staff may be able to provide assistance over the phone or schedule a future appointment. Curbside pickup of glasses and contacts will be available. Patients may also request to have their eyewear mailed to their homes.