Publix appears to be the first major supermarket chain to wind down its designated shopping hours for seniors, first responders and health care workers
In what appears to be a first among food retailers, Publix Super Markets is discontinuing its designated shopping hours of 7 a.m.-8 a.m. for customers age 65 and older, first responders and health care workers, but Publix said that customers who wish to shop when the store is less crowded should still come during the 7 a.m. hour. The special Tuesday and Wednesday hours were instituted in March.
Additionally, as of Saturday, May 16, the grocer’s stores will be open daily from 7 a.m.-9 p.m., while the grocer’s pharmacies, last changed to 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday in April, will return to normal operating hours.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company first adjusted its store and pharmacy hours to close at 8 p.m. nightly on March 14, and then on March 18 made daily store hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and in-store pharmacy hours 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
The stores will continue to practice social distancing and support the well-being of associates and customers by performing additional cleaning and preventive sanitation before and after store hours, including sanitizing high-touch surfaces frequently throughout the day; requiring associates to wear face coverings and permitting them to wear disposable nonlatex gloves where not prohibited by OSHA regulations; and encouraging 6-foot separation through regular intercom announcements; signage and floor decals; one-way shopping aisles, plexiglass shields at all registers, pharmacies and customer service counters; offering the option of contactless pay; and giving store managers the authority to limit the number of customers inside a store.
Since the pandemic began, many food retailers have instituted hours reserved for vulnerable populations and frontline health care workers and first responders, among them Bashas', Dollar General, Meijer, Smart & Final, Southeastern Grocers, Stop & Shop, and Target. In contrast to Publix, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer has actually extended such hours.
Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, the largest employee-owned company in the United States, with more than 220,000 associates, operates 1,242 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. The company is No. 12 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer