As the pandemic stretches into more months, dispensaries are realizing that this might not be a temporary situation. Slapping up some plastic sheets isn’t a solution that will work for the long-term and it just doesn’t look nice. One company has incorporated new safety design measures in its dispensaries and it seems that these local level efforts could set a trend nationwide.
Led by the Guadagnino family (a family-owned business), Keystone Canna Remedies (KCR) is an MMJ dispensary chain in Pennsylvania that currently has 3 locations – Allentown, Bethlehem, and Stroudsburg (the Poconos). Its third dispensary in Stroudsburg, PA has included features in its design of the space by architect Ryan Welty of RGW Architecture, LLC to make sure both patients and employees are safe.
Since many medical marijuana patients are already dealing with immunocompromised conditions, it is even more important to protect them. The patients need to feel safe if they are leaving their homes to meet with a professional or get medicine.
KCR Stroudsburg’s design and policy measures included the following measures:
- The efficient use of space to expedite patient flow
- Tempered glass partitions separating patients from sale counters
- Quartz countertops, which boast anti-microbial properties
- Physical distancing markers indicating appropriate spacing throughout indoor and outdoor waiting areas
- Pharmacy consultation rooms designed to accommodate 6ft distancing
- Pre-order options
- Designated parking area to accommodate curbside transactions if needed
- Patient limits within indoor waiting and point of sale areas
- PPE requirements for all patients and staff (facemasks and gloves), which will be provided for those without
The cannabis industry is accustomed to making adjustments as rules and regulations are frequently changed. However, in this case, most dispensaries took it upon themselves to adapt to a new normal. In KCR’s case, during the height of the pandemic, it moved all patient transactions out of the dispensary buildings and into the parking lots to maximize social distancing. It moved staff around to fill areas of need. Some employees were tasked with being “runners” between the patient/caregiver in their parked car and counter staff.
Glass shields were installed to separate patients and staff at both the reception desk and the point of sale counters. Social distancing efforts inside the dispensary include signs and physical distancing markers which serve as reminders, and limited patient counts in our waiting area and our sales area.
These measures may have been enacted as a response to a deadly virus, but it really does make sense to protect medical marijuana patients as much as possible. It is likely that such efforts will remain in place long after the COVID-19 threat passes. If this virus could be so deadly, there is no doubt more viruses will be in our future.