South Florida grocery stores, workers on front line in fight against coronavirus

Many stores limiting customers, protecting employees
Posted at 8:51 PM, Mar 23, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — South Florida grocery store and their workers remain very much on the front lines in this coronavirus fight. They are among the essential stores operating. But what are the rules for workers trying to stay safe?

Taylor Young and her boyfriend, Mathew Lundy, came to Don Victorio's in West Palm Beach to pick up some produce, but the couple was stopped at the door. The couple wasn't allowed in the store right away. The owner of the place has a few new rules because of COVID-19.

"I think it's great," Taylor Young said. "Any way we can stop the spread of the virus is what we should do."

Gladys Del Carpio owns Don Victorio's with her husband. Five days ago, the business asked all its employees to wear masks while working. Last Friday, it began limiting just 10 people inside the store at one time.

"We want to protect, protect ourselves and our customers," Del Carpio said. "We don't want to be exposed to the virus."

Del Carpio said they've increased the frequency of wiping down surfaces and employees washing their hands.

"They're very smart," customer Israel Cardoves said. "They're helping the community. They're protecting each other. It's brilliant."

Big chain stores like Winn-Dixie have added focus to high-touched areas like checkouts, pin pads and cart corrals. Whole Foods is practicing social distancing guidelines. It has also enhanced its sanitation protocols. Publix is asking its employees to avoid close contact with people who are sick and is offering guidance on cleaning and disinfecting.

"Being cautious, but still allowing people to come in and get the things that they can't get at even some of the bigger locations, is a good thing," Lundy said.

Del Carpio said she's not sure how long the masks will stay, so she'll take it week by week.