Boston councilors upset after Walgreens closes three locations in low-income neighborhoods

BOSTON — There’s a sign outside the Walgreens on River St. in Mattapan letting customers know they now have to go to 825 Morton St.—almost a mile and a half away—to get their prescriptions filled.

“It’s sad…for people that have no car or transportation means,” resident Valeria Wilder said. “People get affected by it because they close all of a sudden and they don’t have any warning.”

Walgreens drew the ire of Boston city councilors this week after the company suddenly closed three locations at 90 River St. in Mattapan, 2275 Washington St. in Roxbury, and 1329 Hyde Park Ave. in Hyde Park.

Councilors Tania Fernandes Anderson and Brian Worrell introduced a resolution Wednesday that blasted the company for abandoning stores in “predominately Black, Brown and working-class communities,” calling for Walgreens to not open any more locations in Boston until the company helps residents in areas where Walgreens are now closed.

“Walgreens should not open any new locations in Boston until they have committed to aforementioned postponement, allowing them, the city, and the community to assist the impacted neighborhoods properly,” the resolution said. “Profitable corporations that benefit from access to Boston’s communities have a responsibility to those communities and must ensure that the masses of poor and working people impacted by store closures are accounted for and that their needs are catered to.”

Fernandes Anderson and Worrell did not respond to requests for comment.

Walgreens said it is reviewing the proposed resolution and plans to respond to the city.

“As we expand as a leader in healthcare, we are focused on best meeting the needs of patients and customers in communities we serve by creating the right network of stores in the right locations. When faced with the difficult task of closing a particular location, several factors are taken into account, including things like the dynamics of the local market and changes in the buying habits of our patients and customers,” Walgreens spokesperson Kris Lathan said in an email.

Michael Sanon’s grandmother lives close to the shuttered River St. location.

“She lives right down the street so it’s easier for her to walk. But now she probably has to go to a different CVS or a different Walgreens. It’s harder for them,” Sanon said. “The people in the neighborhood and the community have to go out of their way, like out of town, just to be able to get prescriptions.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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