Publix rolls out special shopping hours for first responders, hospital staff

In order to help first responders and hospital staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, Publix began offering special shopping hours just for them.

The Lakeland-based grocery store chain is setting aside Thursday evenings, from 8 p.m. to 9 pm. And Friday mornings, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., just for the front line workers.

The designated hours start Thursday, April 16, and will continue for the foreseeable future, according to Publix. The store pharmacy will be open during those hours, as well.

The decision impacts stores company-wide.  Publix has locations in states throughout the southeast including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Since the outbreak began, Publix announced it will install Plexiglass around cash registers to protect its cashiers and some stores have switched to one-way aisles by placing arrows on the floor.

About a month ago, Publix allocated the first shopping hour (from 7-8 a.m.) of every Tuesday and Wednesday for the elderly customers.  The Publix pharmacy will also be open at 7 a.m.

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.

LINKFlorida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


Map of known COVID-19 cases:

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