In an attempt to shorten long lines that have formed across the province, some Ontario pharmacies are now offering COVID-19 testing, including in Chatham and Windsor.

Francia Barris is looking forward to visiting her mom in a long term care facility.

“I just want to be safe in order to go there,” she said.

So Barris, who works at the Shoppers at Devonshire Mall took advantage of a new testing program that launched at her store Tuesday.

“I didn’t feel it at all,” she said. “It was very easy, very quick.”

The testing is available to asymptomatic people who, like Barris, want a little reassurance they don’t have the virus.

“What that means is they can’t have any symptoms associated with COVID-19,” said store owner Matt Thibert. “They can’t be within an isolation period and other things along those lines.”

You can’t walk up and ask to be tested either.

Residents are encouraged to call in advance to make an appointment to get tested, during that call you’ll be screened.

“They have to be high risk,” Thibert said. “They have to fall into a certain group of people.

Thibert says there are five main groups they are looking to test.

“Residents of long term care facilities or workers at long term care facilities. If you want to visit someone in a long term care facility,” he said. “If you identify as Indigenous. If you are in international traveller who needs clearance to travel, or if you are an international student who’s just come to Canada and need clearance to head to school.”

Day one saw 30 people call the Shoppers at Devonshire Mall.

“The screen process was very simple, they just ask you the same questions you would be asked at any other time during COVID,” Barris said.

Of the 30 that called Tuesday, 10 were given an appointment to get tested.

Thibert is asking those who are guaranteed appointments to show up to the pharmacy five to 10 minutes prior.

“We certainly don’t want them hanging around the store cause if they do end up testing positive in the future following the results of the test we want to make sure we’re limiting their time within the store,” he said.

Thibery says the minimum turn around for the test is four days.

“It’s not necessarily a faster version of what’s happening, but just a more convenient version.”

The Shoppers Drug Mart stores at Devonshire Mall, Tecumseh Mall and Huron Church in Windsor are now offering testing to aymptomatic people as well as the location at the Nortwon Shopping Centre in Chatham.

A full list of pharmacies offering COVID-19 tests and testing centres is available on the Ontario website.