A fifth Publix employee in The Villages has tested positive for the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus.
The latest case was reported at the store in the Mulberry Grove Plaza, located at 8700 SE 165th Mulberry Lane. No specific information was provided about the employee but it is believed that the positive result came back within the past 14 days.
The other four employees who have tested positive at Villages Publix stores work in:
- Spanish Plaines Shopping Center, located at 1566 Bella Cruz Drive;
- Grand Traverse Plaza, located at 2913 Traverse Trail, in Brownwood;
- Southern Trace Shopping Center, located at 3475 Wedgewood Ln.; and
- La Plaza Grande Shopping Center, located at 1120 Bichara Boulevard near Spanish Springs Town Square.
Maria Brous, who serves as director of communications for Publix, said employees have worked extremely hard to take care of customers and each other through the pandemic. She added that the grocer remains focused on intensive, ongoing protective measures in its more than 1,200 stores in seven states. She said those measures include:
- Continued cleaning and sanitization of stores.
- Requiring associates to wear face coverings.
- A heightened ongoing disinfection program focusing on high-touch surfaces like touch pads, door and drawer handles, phones and computers.
- 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.
- Adjusted store hours to allow more time to conduct additional disinfection measures and restock shelves.
Publix is headquartered in Lakeland and is an employee-owned company. In addition to Florida where there are more than 800 stores, the grocery store chain has locations in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.