Baltimore rioters destroyed 350 businesses during the rioting last month. Many of the businesses were grocery stores and pharmacies.
Among 350 businesses identified by city officials as damaged in two nights of rioting were drugstores and grocers considered the lifeblood of some of Baltimore’s poorest areas. Many customers are elderly or have chronic health problems and live in “food deserts” with limited access to transportation and healthy food.
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As of Friday, five drugstore/pharmacies remained closed, including two CVS Pharmacy locations, two independent pharmacies and a Rite Aid, according to the city Health Department. Another nine stores with pharmacies had reopened after sustaining damage, including seven Rite Aids and the Target at Mondawmin Mall, the site of a standoff between protesters and police that escalated into violence April 27. Last week, CVS said it will rebuild its two stores burned by rioters.
Small businesses in particular serve as the “backbone” of today’s inner-city neighborhoods, said Robert Blum, director of the Urban Health Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health.