Publix expands store hours as southeastern states begin to reopen

(Courtesy: Publix)

Publix says it will expand its store hours starting this Saturday as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

The Lakeland-based grocery chain made the announcement Thursday, saying stores will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. beginning May 16.

Back in March, Publix had restricted its hours due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the past two months, all of its supermarkets have been open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Publix pharmacies will also return to their regular operating hours, the company said.

"Thank you for your patience over the past several weeks while we’ve operated under reduced hours," their website said.

With the newly expanded hours, Publix is suspending the reserved shopping hours which were set aside for the elderly and those higher at risk.

"We do understand some customers prefer to shop when the stores are less crowded. We encourage you to shop during the first hour of the day, when we can better accommodate that need," the website said.