TAMPA (WFLA) – Publix is implementing new policy changes to keep stores safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Publix says it is providing gloves for its associates and will allow employees to wear masks. The company said it will not supply masks since existing supplies need to be reserved for healthcare workers.

“Although we are providing associates the option of wearing masks and gloves for their personal comfort, it’s important to understand that all official advice from public health organizations state that washing hands frequently, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding touching of the eyes, nose, and mouth are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” a Publix spokesperson said in a statement. “Allowing the usage of masks and gloves does not mean that associates should discontinue or reduce these practices.”

In an email obtained by News Channel 8, Maria Brous the Director of Communication of Publix announced additional new efforts going into effect at all Publix locations.

Those efforts include:

  • A heightened ongoing disinfection program focusing on high-touch surfaces like touchpads, 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.
  • The installation of plexiglass shields at registers, customer service desks and pharmacies in all stores.
  • In-store signage and public address announcements reminding customers and associates of social distancing.
  • Visual reminders of appropriate six-foot spacing via marked lines at registers.