A YORK pharmacy has barred off access to most of the shop - with medicines passed through a serving hatch - in a bid to protect staff and customers from the coronavirus.

Monk Bar Pharmacy in Goodramgate says its ‘hatch and queueing system’ will help keep staff and customers as safe as possible.

Up to a maximum of two customers can queue inside a small area just inside the shops’s front entrance, with staff standing on the other side of newly installed perspex and timber screens.

One hatch in the screen is designated for prescription drop-offs and collections, and also for sales of medicines.

A second hatch is for advice and consultations, ‘blue prescriptions’ for methadone and NHS 111 referrals.

Signs read: “New hatch and queueing system. In order to keep our customers and staff as safe as possible during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have implemented a temporary hatch and queueing system.

“We thank you for your support and we hope to get back to our normal set-up very soon.”

The pharmacy’s manager was unavailable for comment.

The Press reported last week how Boots’ store in Coney Street had imposed restrictions on customers to reduce the risks of customers and staff getting the virus, or passing it on to someone else.

The store was only allowing a maximum of 12 customers inside at any one time, with the restriction being enforced by a member of staff.

A patient line of customers was standing in the street outside the store, each person standing two metres apart from each other in line, following social distancing guidelines.

A Boots spokeswoman said it was doing everything it could to help its customers and staff to stay healthy and safe whilst the Covid-19 situation was ongoing and had made changes in its stores to help manage the social distance government guidance.

“New signage will be placed in our pharmacies, asking patients to stand two metres apart whilst waiting and some seating in waiting areas will be removed to make more space for social distancing,” she said.

“To help manage the number of people in some of our stores, our colleagues may also limit the number of people within the pharmacy at the same time during busy periods.”

A spokesman for LloydsPharmacy, which has several outlets in York, said it needed to ensure customers kept two metres apart and was asking them to be a little more tolerant of waiting times.

He said that at times, staff might not be able to spend as much time with customers as they usually would, because volumes had increased dramatically and some of the workforce was in isolation, leaving some employees doing the jobs of two.