There are exceptions to the grocery chain's new rule.
Publix Super Markets this week began requiring customers to wear face coverings at all of its stores.
“With the number of coronavirus cases continuing to grow and current CDC guidance indicating face coverings can help slow the spread of COVID-19, we believe requiring face coverings in our stores is another way we can do our part to help protect our communities,” Publix Director of Communications Maria Brous wrote in a news release.
The news release states the mandatory mask policy does not apply to young children and those with medical conditions who cannot wear a face mask.
Publix will also use their public address systems for announcements.
The Publix at the Bay Isles Shopping Center is offering customers masks if they don’t have one. Any customer without a mask is asked to visit the store’s customer service desk to pick one up.
Longboat Key is also offering free masks outside Station 91 at 5490 Gulf of Mexico Drive, the Paradise Center at 546 Bay Isles Road or the Chamber of Commerce at 5390 Gulf of Mexico Drive.
Publix has taken several precautionary measures to keep its customers and employees safe. It includes the Longboat Key store launching a curbside pickup service in April by using a third-party service called Instacart. Publix has also installed Plexiglass barriers between cashiers and shoppers. Employees were also required to wear masks starting April 20 for the duration of the national emergency.
Brous also confirmed the Longboat Key store is among 12 Publix stores in Manatee and Sarasota counties with positive cases of COVID-19 in July.
Here is a list of the stores in the two counties where employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in July:
- Sarasota Commons, 935 N. Beneva Road, Sarasota
- Centergate Village, 5804 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota
- Venice Village Shoppes, 4173 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice
- Twelve Oaks Plaza, 7290 55th Ave. E., Bradenton
- Venice Shopping Center, 535 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice
- Beachway Plaza, 7310 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton
- Parkwood Square, 9005 U.S. Highway 301 N., Parrish
- Publix at Bay Street, 2031 Bay St., Sarasota
- Nokomis Village, 1091 N. Tamiami Trail, Nokomis
- Shoppes of Bay Isles, 525 Bay Isles Parkway, Longboat Key
- Beneva Village Shoppes, 3428 Clark Road, Sarasota
- West Village Marketplace, 12165 Mercado Drive, Venice
Publix provides 14 days paid leave for any employee who tests positive for COVID-19.
As of Sunday, data from the Florida Department of Health shows Longboat Key’s 34228 ZIP code has experienced a total of 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Manatee County but fewer than five in Sarasota County.
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.