Lakeland-based grocery giant Publix announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 among one of the company’s thousands of employees.
In a statement released Monday, the company said the employee worked at a store in Cumming, Georgia, which is just north of Atlanta. Rather than closing the location, Publix stated that they followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and “completed a disinfection-level deep cleaning of the store.”
“At Publix, the health and well-being of our associates, our customers and our communities remains our top priority,” said Maria Brous, Publix Director of Communications in the statement. “Following our disinfection protocol and with the support of the public health department, the store is operating normal business hours. We are thinking of our associate and their family during this time and wishing them a swift recovery.”
The company did not say when or if the employee will be able to return to work.
A recent article in the New York Times found that there's an estimated 89,000 Publix employees currently without paid sick leave.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Publix has since ceased all in-store cooking demonstrations, adjusted store hours (8 a.m.-8 p.m. in all stores), and added a designated senior shopping hour on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 a.m.
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