Less than three months ago, Blooms The Chemist Queanbeyan proprietor Mohammed Hasan offered much-needed support to bushfire victims and frontline workers.
Working in his pharmacy up to 12 hours a day, Mr Hasan then went to a local relief centre to provide essential items from his own shelves, talk to displaced people, and even contribute home-cooked meals to those in need.
Far from resting on his laurels or taking a well-earned break, Mr Hasan sprung straight back into action when the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic became evident.
This week, he repackaged hand sanitiser which he donated to local police.
"The police are right on the frontline when it comes to coronavirus," Mr Hasan said. "While they have large bottles of hand sanitiser at the station, they really need to have it with them at all times.
"Given sanitiser is in short supply, I thought I could contribute by decanting it into smaller bottles they could carry in their pockets."
Mr Hasan said his efforts are minor in comparison to people's needs.
"The Queanbeyan and surrounding communities have been like an extended family to me over the past 20 years. This is the least I can do to show my appreciation and support.
"During times of need, we have to put on whatever hat is required to help in any way we can."
The pharmacy is running four vehicles to assist the most vulnerable people in the community with free home deliveries.
"As much as possible, we're encouraging everyone to stay home," Mr Hasan said. "We'll work with their doctors to fill prescriptions and deliver them.
"We've also implemented a lot of precautions in the store like clear screens at the counters, marks on the floor to help people maintain appropriate social distancing, and we're cleaning continuously throughout the day."
Mr Hasan said that while pharmacy staff and all health workers were at greater risk of exposure, they were well prepared to implement safety measures.
"We've always dealt with people who are unwell, so there's often a risk of infection, and we're equipped to deal with that," he said.
"We are maintaining our distance as much as possible and wearing appropriate protective gear when administering things like flu shots, which are in high demand at present."
While a flu vaccine shot will not protect against COVID-19, Mr Hasan said it was important for people to build up immunity to as many illnesses as possible.
"Maintaining good respiratory health and ensuring our immune systems are at their peak is vital right now so that if someone is exposed to COVID-19, they have the best chance of recovery," he said.
"That means doing whatever we can to prevent colds and flu, and ensuring other ailments like asthma are well managed.
"People don't need to hoard medicines and supplements, but should ensure they have adequate supplies at home.
"And while nothing beats good hygiene, a healthy diet, and exercise to keep our immune systems in order, there is a range of immune boosting supplements available that, on advice from a doctor or pharmacist, can be beneficial."
Mr Hasan says he'll continue to keep his store open 11 hours a day and provide whatever assistance he can to frontline workers and the public.
Blooms the Chemist is at Shop 2-3, 183 Crawford St. Open daily until 9pm. Ph. 6297 1872.
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