Publix working to ensure customer safety as more Tampa Bay employees test positive for coronavirus

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Publix is known for its slogan: “Where Shopping is a Pleasure.”

But, the coronavirus pandemic is cause for concern for customers as more and more associates test positive for COVID-19.

“It does concern me but I’ll still shop to get things when I need them,” Mary Davis said.

A Publix spokeswoman sent the following information to 8 On Your Side, verifying several locations in the Tampa Bay area where associates have tested positive:

  • Store #0627: 12139 W. Linebaugh Ave., Tampa
  • Store #1117: 2514 N McMullen Booth Rd., Clearwater
  • Store #1160: 525 S Belcher Rd., Clearwater
  • Store #1348: 1075 Pasadena Ave S.,  South Pasadena
  • Store #1456: 4th Street Station, Saint Petersburg
  • Store #0353: 1491 Main St., Dunedin
  • Store #0732: 4854 Sun City Center Blvd., Sun City Center
  • Store #0866: 1555 S Highland Ave., Clearwater

8 On Your Side reached out to the supermarket chain and a spokeswoman tell us this is how workers are keeping stores safe:

  • A heightened ongoing disinfection program focusing on high-touch surfaces like touchpads, 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.
  • Adjusted store hours to allow more time to conduct additional disinfection measures and restock shelves.

Dr. Tom Unnasch, a professor at the University of South Florida, spoke to 8 On Your Side about how most aspects of society, from schools to workplaces to the local supermarket, will eventually be touched by the virus.

“Once it gets to 20 percent, 30 percent, then everybody is gonna know somebody who’s had it, been through it. A lot of people will never know they’ve had it,” Unnasch said, referring to those who will get the virus, but never show symptoms.

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