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As Publix employee tests positive, other retailers install barriers at checkout

publixxPublix has received confirmation from the Georgia Department of Public Health that an associate who works at a store in Cumming, GA, has tested positive for COVID-19. The store completed a disinfection-level deep cleaning of the store. This news comes at a time when retailers are offering increased wages and protective measures for employees.

“At Publix, the health and well-being of our associates, our customers and our communities remains our top priority,” said Maria Brous, Publix director of communications. “Following our disinfection protocol and with the support of the public health department, the store is operating normal business hours. We are thinking of our associate and their family during this time and wishing them a swift recovery.”

The Georgia Department of Public Health has informed Publix that store customers are considered to be at low risk of exposure and the products sold at the store do not represent a risk to customers.

Like many other retailers, Publix’s general response to COVID-19 includes a heightened disinfection program focusing on high-touch surfaces like touch pads, door and drawer handles, phones and computers. It has also taken in-store measures, such as suspending food demonstrations, to focus on the health and safety of its associates, customers and community. Adjusted store hours to sanitatize and restock the store as well as a designated senior shopping hour have become the new norm.

Albertsons, however, is taking things further with a newly announced plan. The company is installing Plexiglas in its checkout lanes as a protective barrier between customers and checkers. The Plexiglas “sneeze guards” will be installed in the company’s 2,200-plus stores. Hy-Vee is also installing temporary window panels at checkouts to help provide an additional layer of protection for both our employees and customers.

Hy-Vee has also said customers will no longer be allowed to bring in reusable bags until further notice since it is difficult to monitor their cleanliness. Because it is not always easy to know the sanitization procedures customers are taking at their homes to keep the bags clean, this is one more way the grocer is helping prevent the spread of the virus.

“We recognize that we provide an essential service to our communities,” said Vivek Sankaran, president and chief executive officer. “We are doing everything we can to provide a safe, secure, and comfortable shopping space for our valued customers. This is an extra step to protect our associates who are in constant contact with the public and provide our customers with extra reassurance as well.”

“The spread of this virus is asking us all to take extraordinary measures and change the way we live our lives,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, CEO and president. “We are continuing to adapt at Hy-Vee so that we can serve our customers and keep everyone in our stores as safe and healthy as possible.”

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