Two employees at Publix grocery stores in The Villages have tested positive for the potentially deadly Coronavirus.
An employee at the store in the Southern Trace Plaza on Wedgewood Lane recently tested positive and another one at the store in La Plaza Grande on Bichara Boulevard tested positive more than 14 days ago, according to a statement released Wednesday by the grocery store chain.
Maria Brous, director of communications, said Wednesday that the health and well-being of Publix’s customers and employees is a top priority and the company is doing everything possible to protect them from the illness.
“Like other essential service providers, we have seen our own associates and their families personally impacted by COVID-19,” Brous said. “Unfortunately, as public health officials have indicated, we expect to see an increase in cases as the virus spreads in our communities.”
Brous said Publix employees have worked extremely hard to take care of customers and each other through such an unprecedented and challenging time. She said they are continuing to remain focused on intensive, ongoing protective measures in the more than 1,200 stores in seven states.
Brous added that the efforts to combat the spread of the Coronavirus in all stores are being conducted with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as local and state health departments. She said they include:
- A heightened ongoing disinfection program focusing on high-touch surfaces like touch pads, door and drawer handles, phones and computers.
- Continued cleaning and sanitization of stores.
- Quarantine and paid leave for 14 days for any associate who tests positive for COVID-19 to recover from the illness.
- Notification, quarantine and paid leave for up to 14 days for associates who have been in close contact with the associate who tests positive for COVID-19.
- The installation of plexiglass shields at registers, customer service desks and pharmacies in all stores.
- In-store signage, one-way directional aisles and public address announcements reminding customers and associates of social distancing.
- Visual reminders of appropriate six-foot spacing via marked lines at registers.
Requiring associates to wear face coverings.
- Adjusted store hours to allow more time to conduct additional disinfection measures and restock shelves.