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Monday March 30th, 2020 10:12AM

Publix stores to have barriers for cashiers as virus spreads

By The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — Florida-based grocery chain Publix announced it will install plexiglass barriers to protect its cashiers, joining other retailers that are installing the shields to protect employees and customers from a coronavirus infection.

The Lakeland-based supermarket chain said Wednesday that all 1,200 locations should have the plexiglass partitions installed at the cash registers, customer service desks and pharmacies within two weeks.

"We’re taking extra precautions for the well-being of our customers and associates," said Maria Brous, a spokeswoman for Publix Super Markets Inc.

Publix has joined its biggest competitors, Kroger Co. and Walmart Inc., in installing the so-called “sneeze guards.”

Grocery stores have seen their business soar as authorities urge people only to go out for essentials, prompting them to stay and cook more at home. The stores have been extremely busy and been forced to close earlier to give workers more time to clean and restock as products fly off the shelves.

Some stores have announced their employees have been infected with the COVID-19 virus. Publix announced earlier this week that an associate in Cumming, Georgia, tested positive.

Publix has 1,243 locations spread across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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