Coronavirus Florida: Publix is expanding its hours
“Thank you for your patience over the past several weeks while we’ve operated under reduced hours,” a statement on the company’s website reads.
With the expanded hours, the company also announced it is suspending reserved shopping hours for the elderly and immunocompromised.
“We do understand some customers prefer to shop when the stores are less crowded,” Publix officials said. “We encourage you to shop during the first hour of the day, when we can better accommodate that need.”
Retired nurse Madeline Beaumont of Dade City said she appreciated all of the attention that Publix is paying to our safety.
“Our community store has remained spotlessly clean, maintained professional staff in masks, and installed plexiglass to protect everyone,” Beaumont said, with an added message to Publix executives. “Thank you for getting us through the beginning of our journey through this Pandemic.”
Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said they will maintain intensive, ongoing protective measures in all Publix stores and continue to obtain guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with local and state health departments.
Safety measures include a heightened disinfection program focusing on high-touch surfaces, continuing the cleaning and sanitization of stores, leaving up plexiglass shields at all cash registers, customer service desks, and pharmacies, one-way aisles and six-foot distancing for customers and required face masks for all in-store employees.
In addition, employees will receive paid leave for 14 days if they test positive for COVID-19. In addition paid leave for up to 14 days will be provided for employees who have been in close contact with associates who test positive for COVID-19.
Brous declined to say how many Publix employees have tested positive.
“My apologies…but that's not how we are sharing information,” Brous said in an email.
Publix had been open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. during COVID-19 lockdown. The company designated Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7 to 8 as senior shopping hours for customers age 65 and older.
“I never used the early morning hour - way too early for me,” said Rosemary Calhoun of Tallahassee. “Glad they are going back to regular hours. Our Publix cleans the shopping carts after each use - they seem to be very pro-active with keeping things sanitized and I definitely appreciate not being forced to wear a mask.”
Some shoppers said they took advantage of pick-up and delivery services for the first time and enjoyed it.
“It was everything I had hoped for and more,” said Susan Harmer McCeldry of Lakeland, who returned to work this week as a hair stylist. “The person picking my order was friendly and communicated with me, especially if a product had to be substituted. Depending on the time I placed my order, I was able to have my order delivered within two hours. That was a great help especially when I needed the food to cook dinner. The delivery service was of great value to me because I was able to stay home and away from unnecessary contact with others.”
At least one shopper had other things on his mind.
“Never mind hours, when are they bringing back the free cups of coffee?” joked longtime Tallahassee Democrat columnist Bill Cotterell. “I've enjoyed it so long, I feel deprived of my constitutional right to keep and bear coffee at Publix.”
Kimberly C. Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 863-802-7514. Follow her on Twitter at @KMooreTheLedger.
This story originally published to theledger.com and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.