LAKELAND, Fla. - Starting Tuesday, Publix customers will be required to wear face masks in all grocery stores.
The Lakeland-based grocery store chain made the announcement last week, saying the new requirement is due to the growing number of coronavirus cases and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which says face coverings can help slow the virus' spread. The rule is regardless of what any city or county ordinances may say.
Signage will be placed at store entrances and in-store announcements will be made to remind customers of the change, according to a press release.
The requirement will not apply to young children or those with medical conditions who are unable to wear masks.
"Publix remains committed to serving customers through all channels but encourages those who are not able to wear face coverings to consider using Publix Delivery and/or Curbside Pickup," Publix said in the press release.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Publix made it official that employees were allowed to wear masks. In April, the company made it mandatory for workers and even started selling its own branded masks in the iconic Publix green with elastic ear bands. Online, the store is selling a two-pack of face masks at $15.95, or 10 masks for almost $70.
Publix also allocated the first shopping hour (from 7-8 a.m.) of every Tuesday and Wednesday for the elderly customers.
And while many companies across the country have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, the grocery store chain announced it's raking in sizable profits. Publix's sales in the first quarter of 2020 increased by approximately $1 billion compared to the same time last year.
On Monday, face mask requirements went into effect at Walmart, Sam's Club, Walgreens, CVS and Kohl's. Winn-Dixie initially declined to implement a mask policy, but announced this week that they, too, would require most customers to wear masks.