RIVER JOHN – It’s business as usual for C.G. Fulton Pharmacy in both Tatamagouche and River John during the novel coronavirus pandemic, but with an added twist.

Chris MacLean, who owns the business with his wife, Wendy, said both pharmacies are open to the public for whatever their needs, they’re just doing business through a walk-up window.

“The biggest deciding factor was a couple days prior to installing the window, I was at another local business where I heard a person on a telephone call,” said MacLean. “They were telling someone they flew in from Florida the night before, and they were out shopping.

“I thought, ‘this is crazy. How am I going to protect my staff?’”

The pharmacy in Tatamagouche has two pharmacists, so if they were to contract the coronavirus, the business would be shut down.

“I got to thinking how we could have minimum exposure with our staff, but still offer our full services,” said MacLean.

With regulations on businesses and the public becoming stiffer as time goes by, MacLean said he didn’t want to wait until there would be zero access for customers. It was on a Sunday when the idea of the walk-up window popped into his head, and by Monday the windows were installed.

“Micah Stewart of Stewart Construction was so great for having it installed so quickly,” he said, adding the window in Tatamagouche allows for walk-up service along the Main Street sidewalk.

The pharmacy in River John, however, was a bit trickier due to the building location and layout. River John customers access the business from the side of the building, with canopy coverage.

“The door is locked, but customers can phone in their order or email in their order. They can pay through the window with debit, Visa, or through an e-transfer,” said MacLean, noting the email and e-transfers are only available in Tatamagouche. In River John, orders need to be made over the phone. Orders can also be made for both location through the ‘diem health for Guardian’ app.

Delivery of products are still continuing within the village on a daily basis, with weekly deliveries in outlying areas going farther.

“We haven’t had one complaint yet. Customers have really embraced our efforts to keep everyone safe.”

Prior to the installation of the walk-up window, Plexiglas barriers between the customers and the pharmacist or employee on the register had already been installed. When it’s safe to do so, the walk-up windows will be removed, however the pharmacy will still take extra precautionary measures.

MacLean said all staff members are also being encouraged to be “smart” at home, and they’re being encouraged to pass that along to family members as well in terms of who they are interacting with.

For those picking up prescriptions, MacLean said they are following government guidelines and filling prescriptions for 30 days at a time in a blanket attempt to minimize any future drug shortages.

When it comes to the equipment side of things at CGF Homehealth and Medical, the pharmacy team is trying to minimize contact with clients – consultations are being done via phone and photographs, and arranging to have equipment delivered, or making appointments for pick-up.

While overhearing the telephone conversation on how the person had just gotten back from Florida, MacLean said it was at the time when self-isolation wasn’t really being pushed or mandated. He said he didn’t say anything to the person then, but he won’t keep quiet if it were to happen again.

“If I have another opportunity like that, I definitely would say something,” he said.

For those with internet access, 3D videos have been created so one can explore both the pharmacy in Tatamagouche and The Village Gift Shop. They can be found online through the pharmacy and gift shop’s pages on Facebook.

For anyone wishing to order through the pharmacy in Tatamagouche – whether it be prescriptions or other products, call 902-657-2545 or email j.cgfulton@gmail.com. For orders in River John, the phone number is 902-351-2500.

C.G. Fulton Pharmacy in Tatamagouche is open to customers with a new walk-up window accessed by the sidewalk on Main Street. In River John, customers will find the walk-up window on the side of the building, covered by a canopy. The doors to both businesses are locked, however customers are still being served during the coronavirus pandemic. Orders can be made at both locations by phone or the ‘diem health for Guardian’ app; and by email at the Tatamagouche business. (Submitted photo)


Raissa Tetanish has been a journalist for the past 15 years, and has spent four years as editor of both The Light and Hub Now. She joined the Pictou Advocate in April 2021.