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VIENNA, Va.—Today, MyEyeDr. has informed its associates, doctors and patients that it will be temporarily closing all of its offices effective 5:00 p.m. ET today until April 3 due to the coronavirus pandemic. A note from Sue Downes, CEO, said, "As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to evolve, MyEyeDr. is taking proactive steps to protect and support our workforce and the communities where we live and work and position our practice for the long term. Our top priority continues to be your safety and wellness, along with that of your families, and all the patients that depend on our clinical care. We had hoped to remain open and available for any urgent patient needs, but at this time, we are making the right decision when balancing the needs of associates, doctors, patients, and the public. We will continue to re-evaluate the timeline as circumstances change."

MyEyeDr. presently operates 600 offices around the U.S. Downes told VMAIL, "We have not taken this decision lightly. Our plan is to ensure our associates and doctors will continue to receive 100 percent of their regular base wages and benefits through April 3 as well. We weighed all sides of this. We want to educate consumers and patients about the importance of eye health and advance the role of our doctors as true medical providers. We want to balance what patients need with everyone's safety and care."

She added, "We have a commitment to the vision wellness and health care of our patients, but after weighing all of the guidance from the CDC and AOA, we believe that we can best support the communities we serve by pausing operations. Our doctors will remain available for emergency care, and we expect to come back stronger as a team as soon as it is safe for patients and associates. We believe that by taking this decisive action, we are in the best service of our entire community: our patients, our associates, our doctors and each of the local communities in which we operate."

Artis Beatty, OD, chief medical officer of MyEyeDr. also told VMAIL, "We are planning on having ODs report to offices on an abbreviated schedule. They will not be scheduled to see patients, but instead will triage and consult with patients as they call the offices. Individual ODs will make assessments of emergencies and see only those patients as appropriate."

"During this pause in patient care," MyEyeDr.'s letter to associates and doctors said, "we will use this time to implement additional risk mitigation measures, reflecting our commitment to providing safe and responsible services during this outbreak. We will also use this time to better prepare our staffs to return to active patient care stronger than before."

Notices to patients will be posted on the MyEyeDr. home page as well.

VMAIL is reaching out to other optical retailers, ECPs and professionals in the U.S. for their response to the current COVID-19 situation and we will report on these as they are confirmed.