Publix confirms 3 COVID-19 cases among Jacksonville employees

Cases found on the Westside and Southside of the city

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At least three Publix employees who work at Jacksonville stores have tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson for the Florida-based grocery chain has confirmed.

The company said employees at Publix Supermarkets on 103rd street, Reedy Branch Commons on Baymeadows Road and at the Harbor Place Plaza on Atlantic Boulevard have employees out sick with the virus.

It’s unclear what roles the employees hold within their locations, and the company’s statement did not specify the source of their infections. The statement added that these cases likely won’t be the last to impact Publix:

“Unfortunately, as public health officials have indicated, we expect to see an increase in cases as the virus spreads in our communities," according to the corporate statement.

The spokesperson said Publix is unable to provide real-time reports and updates on its cases because COVID-19 testing and reporting vary from state to state.

But the statement noted that the grocery chain is introducing a range of in-store measures, such as plexiglass barriers at registers, intended to keep both customers and employees safe.

The spokesperson added that any employee who tests positive, or any employee who had close contact with someone who tests positive, is placed on paid leave and asked to quarantine for 14 days.

Typically, all the stores in the Harbour Place Plaza would be open, but since Friday was the first day under the city and state safer-at-home orders, some were closed. What would normally be a parking lot full of customers heading into the different stores, it seemed most of them were heading into Publix.

And most customers seemed to have confidence that the store has taken precautions to keep them safe.

As a Publix employee said over the public address system while we were at the store: “We’re all in this together."

In a statement from Publix:

"Like other essential service providers, we have seen our own associates and their families personally impacted by COVID-19. As a result, we cannot fully and accurately report cases in real-time, but we have been and will continue to be, keenly focused on intensive, ongoing protective measures in all our stores.”

"Before you even grab a cart they’re wiping it down and letting you know that these are all sanitized which is a good thing," the employee said.

News4Jax crews saw lots of empty shelves inside Publix and Walmart. Earlier this week, News4Jax told you some stores like Walmart, Costco and Home Depot have put limits on the numbers of customers allowed inside at one time.

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