Winn-Dixie has become the latest grocery store to adjust its hours as a result of coronavirus. The Florida-based chain has announced it's extending its store hours by one hour on Monday and Tuesdays from 8 to 9 p.m. to give healthcare workers and other first responders on the frontlines time to shop. Anthony Hucker, President and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, released a statement about the change.
"At Southeastern Grocers, we are a people-first company and we are dedicated to being there for the community when they need us most," Hucker's statement began. "Our first responders and healthcare providers are working extra-long hours to take care of the community and we want to do our part to take care of them. Beginning this Monday, all of our stores will remain open from 8-9 p.m. every Monday and Tuesday to allow these heroic individuals the opportunity to stock up on fresh food and essential items. We ask that our customers be respectful of this time we have dedicated to our frontline warriors."
On March 26, the chain also announced that it was proactively implementing additional safety measures to help slow the spread, including seniors-only hours in some locations, as well as the installation of protective Plexiglas partitions in its locations. It will also enforce additional social distancing protocols and store occupancy regulations so as to guard staff and customers from COVID-19.
The move comes days after President Donald Trump announced that the federal government would extend social distancing protocols through the month of April, an about-face from his previous position to have "the country opened up" by Easter.
"The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end," Trump said on Sunday. "We can expect that by June 1, we will be well on our way to recovery, we think by June 1. A lot of great things will be happening. I want our life back."
As of Tuesday and per this writing, there have been 163,539 reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and 2,860 deaths, according to The CDC. In order to slow the spread, more than 1.5 billion people around the world have engaged in some kind of self-isolation to help slow the spread of coronavirus. For tips on how to stay safe and prepared, The World Health Organization has tips on how to do so here.