Publix now allowing employees to wear masks and gloves at work

Publix is now allowing its employees to wear masks and gloves while working during the coronavirus pandemic.

The supermarket chain announced the decision Monday to allow its workers to wear personal protective equipment while on the job.

Publix says it is providing gloves for its associates while inventory is available, though it is already scarce. The company said it will not supply masks since existing supplies need to be reserved for healthcare workers.

Related: Publix says it will install Plexiglas around cash registers

"Although we are providing associates the option of wearing masks and gloves for their personal comfort, it’s important to understand that all official advice from public health organizations state that washing hands frequently, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding touching of the eyes, nose, and mouth are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19," a Publix spokesperson said in a statement. "Allowing the usage of masks and gloves does not mean that associates should discontinue or reduce these practices."

It's the latest move the company has made to slow the spread of COVID-19, having already installed Plexiglas shields at registers, customer service desks and pharmacies at all of their stores.

Related: Publix hiring thousands of associates to keep up with the COVID-19 shopping demand

Publix says it will continue its heightened, ongoing disinfection program focusing on high-touch surfaces like touch pads, door and drawer handles, phones and computers.

The grocery store chain also says it will provide 14 days paid leave for any associate who tests positive for COVID-19.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


Map of known COVID-19 cases:

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