With businesses and other public spaces now being allowed to reopen in most states — as long as social distancing and other safety measures are in place — Publix Super Markets and Meijer are expanding their store hours.
Southeastern grocer Publix said that starting Saturday, May 16, its stores will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., while its pharmacies will return to normal operating hours. Reserved shopping hours for seniors, first responders and health care workers are being discontinued, the company said.
On March 18, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Publix announced that it would temporarily adjust daily store hours chainwide to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and pharmacy hours to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except for normal pharmacy hours on Sunday). On April 6, pharmacy hours were extended to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, with normal hours on Saturday and Sunday.
Going forward, all stores will continue to engage in current COVID-19 safety practices, Publix noted. They include additional cleaning and preventive sanitation before and after store hours, including frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces throughout the day; requiring associates to wear face coverings and allowing them to wear disposable, non-latex gloves (where not prohibited by OSHA regulations); plexiglass shields at all registers, pharmacies and customer service counters; promoting contactless pay; and allowing store managers to limit the number of customers in stores.
Publix said it will also foster the recommended six feet of physical distancing in stores through regular intercom announcements, signage and floor decals, and one-way shopping aisles. The Lakeland, Fla.-based supermarket chain operates 1,242 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Through May 14, 33 states had instituted partial reopenings, while another nine planned to start reopening soon, according to The New York Times. Eight states — New York, New Jersey, California, Washington, Michigan, Illinois, Maryland and Delaware — remain shut down or restricted.
Meanwhile, Midwestern supercenter retailer Meijer plans to shift to 6 a.m. opening and midnight closings at all stores beginning Friday, May 15.
Meijer Express convenience store locations open at 6 a.m. and close at 11 p.m., with pay-at-the-pump fuel sales available 24/7, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company said.
Dedicated shopping times for people age 60 and older and customers with chronic health conditions will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., with pharmacies continuing to open at 7 a.m., Meijer said. Reserved shopping times for essential service workers (medical workers, first responders and law enforcement) and Meijer employees will also continue on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
“These extended hours will best serve all our customers and provide more flexibility to shop Meijer stores,” President and CEO Rick Keyes said in a statement. “As communities begin to reopen, it’s more important than ever that we find new ways to adjust and reshape how our customers shop for products they need while keeping their families safe.”
Meijer had instituted modified store hours due to COVID-19 effective March 20. Changes included Meijer supercenters and Meijer Express outlets opening at 8 a.m. and closing 10 p.m.; dedicated shopping hours for seniors and at-risk customers on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. (including pharmacies); and exclusive shopping times for essential service workers and employees on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. (including pharmacies).
Overall, Meijer operates 248 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Stay-at-home orders are slated to expire on May 28 in Michigan and May 31 in Illinois.
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