CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Publix employees at two stores in Clearwater have tested positive for the coronavirus.
“We can confirm that we have an associate who works at store 1160, 525 S Belcher Rd., Clearwater, FL, has tested positive for COVID-19,” Company Director of Communnication Maria Brous said.
The other store affected is located at 1555 South Highland Ave, in Clearwater.
The company has cleaned and sanitized both stores. Both employees, as well as the co-workers they interacted with, are isolating themselves.
The company released the following statement:
As an essential service provider, the health and well-being of our customers, associates and communities are our top priority.
We are proud of how our dedicated associates are taking care of our customers and each other through this unprecedented and challenging time. And, we thank our customers for continuing to trust us with providing them with the goods and services they need.
Like other essential service providers, we have seen our own associates and their families personally impacted by COVID-19. Unfortunately, as public health officials have indicated, we expect to see an increase in cases as the virus spreads in our communities.
The testing and reporting of cases by health departments varies widely state-by-state. As a result, we cannot fully and accurately report cases in real-time, but we have been, and will continue to be, keenly focused on intensive, ongoing protective measures in all our stores.
Brous announced additional new efforts going into effect at all Publix locations with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local and state health departments and 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.
- Sanitization of stores with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case.
- 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 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.
Some shoppers tell 8 On Your Side they are still a bit nervous about the situation.
“Oh my gosh, of course, we’re concerned,” said Cindy Fialos, who works across the street from the Highland Avenue location. “A lot of people in my work were just in there today, yesterday, that’s where we shop.”
Julie Kleckner had heard about the worker at the Belcher store, but hadn’t heard about the employee at the Highland Avenue location where she shops. She’s now considering limiting her trips.
“I should be okay for a while. I probably won’t buy anything for a while. I should be all right, hopefully,” said Kleckner. “I know my neighbors across the street, they said they are just going to call Wal-Mart and have them come and deliver.”
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