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NEW YORK—Several additional major national optical retailers and eyecare practices have made the decision to close temporarily or modify their operating hours and services as a result of the impact and spread of the coronavirus across the U.S. These retailers and practice groups include EyeCare Partners (ECP) of St. Louis, Eyemart Express and Visionworks. Canada’s New Look Vision also has made the decision to initiate partial or full-store closures across its network in response to COVID-19.

The groups that informed VMAIL of their plans earlier today join several other retailers—including National Vision, MyEyeDr., Shopko Optical, Warby Parker and Wisconsin Vision, among others—that announced reduced operating hours or closures earlier this week, as VMAIL reported.

VMAIL checked in with several companies who debated the decision, and cited the Center for Disease Control's recommendation to focus on emergency and urgent care needs and postpone routine eyecare visits, which were issued earlier this week.

Visionworks, a VSP Global company, will temporarily close all of its locations by Saturday, March 21, but will preserve access to its doctors for essential and emergency eyecare. The organization will continue to monitor the situation and seek CDC guidance before determining when to reopen its locations for routine eyecare. During this time, all Visionworks associates will continue to be paid.

“With this temporary pause, we’re focused on protecting the health and safety of our associates, doctors, and the communities we serve throughout the country,” said Pete Bridgman, president of Visionworks. “We understand that even in the midst of this pandemic, there will be emergency eyecare needs and our doctors stand ready to assess those urgent needs and determine the safest way to provide treatment.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Visionworks has implemented significant procedures to ensure the safety of patients, as well as doctors and associates, the company’s announcement stated. Upon reopening of Visionworks locations, those safety precautions will remain in place. For more information, visit

EyeCare Partners, a leading network of full-scope medical optometry and ophthalmology practices, said it will cease all non-critical patient visits and procedures across its network in accordance with CDC guidance, effective tomorrow, March 21.

“Amid this unprecedented period of uncertainty, fear and confusion caused by COVID-19, it is critical that we prioritize our patients, teammates, medical providers and communities’ health above all else,” Kelly McCrann, ECP’s chief executive officer, said. “EyeCare Partners will continue to serve its high-need and at-risk patient community under a stringent set of safety and preventative protocols. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and look forward to resuming normal operations as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Beginning next week, certain ECP optometry locations will be open limited hours to serve emergency medical services and to pick up, until further notice. ECP ophthalmology clinics and ambulatory surgery centers will maintain limited ability to serve the most severe and urgent clinical and surgical patient needs.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation and ECP must continue to evolve with it. During this extremely difficult time, ECP will do everything we can to serve our patients, teammates, doctors, families and our communities,” McCrann added.

More information on ECP’s ophthalmology and optometry status of operation can be accessed on brand websites, located here.

Dallas-based Eyemart Express said a “temporary suspension of operations” at all 218 retail stores will be effective at the close of business Friday, March 20. The optical retailer plans to reopen on Monday, April 6. All Eyemart Express associates will continue to receive their base pay through April 4 and have access to all of the benefits offered by the optical retailer, the company noted.

“We are all in this together and we are doing our part to help stop the spread of coronavirus,” said Michael Bender, Eyemart Express’ CEO. “As always, our focus is on the health of our customers and associates. We look forward to serving our customers with the best value in eyewear and helping them see clearly when our doors open again.”

Eyemart Express will continue to monitor the situation and latest CDC updates “to make the best decisions to keep customers and associates safe,” its announcement stated. Updates will be posted at

In Canada, New Look Vision has initiated partial or full-store closures across its network in response to COVID-19. Preventing the virus’ spread, protecting professionals, employees and clients while maintaining a minimum access to vision care and products are the key factors driving these decisions, the company said. The company also established an emergency pay program to supplement unemployment insurance for the employees placed on temporary leave.

Antoine Amiel, president and CEO, said, "New Look Vision responded swiftly to the onset of COVID-19. We have reduced our store network capacity to participate in the collective effort to stem the pandemic’s spread and to protect our teams and customers, while keeping open a minimum access to vision care and products for those in need. We have implemented a supplemental pay program for our employees placed on temporary leave.

"We have downsized our cost structure and taken cash conservation measures. We are actively monitoring the situation and will adjust our stance proactively. While our stores and manufacturing activities are reduced, our development initiatives are on-going to continue building a competitive advantage,” he said.