LAKELAND, Fla. - Publix announced Thursday it will require all customers to wear a face covering while inside its stores, starting Tuesday, July 21.
In a press release, the Lakeland-based grocery store chain said the new requirement is due to the growing number of coronavirus cases and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which says face coverings can help slow the virus' spread.
Signage placed at store entrances and in-store announcements will inform customers of the change.
The requirement will not apply to young children and those with medical conditions who are not able to wear face coverings.
"Publix remains committed to serving customers through all channels but encourages those who are not able to wear face coverings to consider using Publix Delivery and/or Curbside Pickup," Publix said in the press release.
The company said it will continue to monitor the pandemic and review guidance from the CDC, state, and local officials.
Requiring everyone inside its stores to wear a mask is one of many measures the company has taken as COVID-19 spreads through communities.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Publix made it official that employees were allowed to wear masks. In April, the company made it mandatory for workers and even started selling its own branded masks in the iconic Publix green with elastic ear bands. Online, the store is selling a two-pack of face masks at $15.95, or 10 masks for almost $70.
Publix also allocated the first shopping hour (from 7-8 a.m.) of every Tuesday and Wednesday for the elderly customers.
And while many companies across the country have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, the grocery store chain announced it's raking in sizable profits.
Publix's sales in the first quarter of 2020 increased by approximately $1 billion compared to the same time last year.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to email@example.com. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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