EMERALD ISLE — The Publix Super Market on Egret Landing Road this week notified employees an associate there contracted the novel coronavirus and urged them to take precautions, especially if they have recently worked with that person.
The notification went out through the employee portal Monday, and Maria Brous, Publix director of communications for Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, confirmed it in an email Wednesday.
The notice says anyone who worked with the employee recently is self-quarantining under the guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
“We feel this transparency … is of the utmost importance,” the message states, “to ensure the health and safety of all Publix associates, your families and our customers.”
It says Publix “will continue to closely monitor this emergent situation and keep you updated.”
The message urges employees to stay home from work if they have “cold-like symptoms or a fever of more than 100.4 degrees” and advises them not to return to work until all symptoms have been absent for at least 72 hours.
Ms. Brous said in her email, “As an essential service provider, the health and well-being of our customers, associates and communities are our top priority. And, we thank our customers for continuing to trust us with providing them with the goods and services they need.
“Like other essential service providers, we have seen our own associates and their families personally impacted by COVID-19,” she continued. “Unfortunately, as public health officials have indicated, we expect to see an increase in cases as the virus spreads in our communities.”
The email said because testing and reporting of cases by health departments varies widely, Publix “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.”
Ms. Brous cited heightened disinfection programs in stores, quarantine and paid leave for 14 days for any associate who tests positive for COVID-19, notification, quarantine and paid leave for up to 14 days for associates who have been in close contact with an associate who tests positive for COVID-19 and installation of plexiglass shields at registers, customer service desks and pharmacies in all stores.
She also cited in-store signage, one-way aisles and public announcements reminding customers and associates of social distancing, requiring associates to wear face coverings, visual reminders of 6-foot spacing at cash registers and adjusted store hours to allow more time for additional disinfection measures and restocking of shelves.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.