Publix stores will soon be open longer — and without reserved hours for vulnerable shoppers — beginning this Saturday, May 16.
Publix will open for all customers starting at 7 a.m. and will remain open until 9 p.m. Pharmacies will return to normal operating hours as well.
“Thank you for your patience over the past several weeks while we’ve operated under reduced hours,” Publix announced on its website Thursday.
“With our newly expanded hours, we will suspend reserved shopping hours. 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.”
Though Publix remained open through the novel coronavirus, the chain reduced hours to 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
In March, Publix announced that stores would be open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the extra hour reserved for senior shoppers age 65 and over.
That’s because the coronavirus can be particularly dangerous for elderly individuals. The chain sought to offer those vulnerable individuals time to shop without interacting with younger members of the public.
Since that announcement, face masks have become more prevalent — even mandated in some cases. Publix has also further implemented one-way shopping lanes, protective guards for clerks and other safety measures aimed at keeping stores clean.
The company also offered two separate one-hour shopping blocks for first responders and health care workers. Prior to Thursday’s change, those were running Thursday evening from 8-9 p.m. and Friday mornings from 7-8 a.m.
The move to expand hours comes as Florida has entered Phase One of its reopening plan, allowing more businesses to reopen and expand their offerings. Publix and other grocery stores were not shut down in prior emergency orders, as it is considered an essential business.