Publix Super Markets expects to complete the rollout of contactless payment to all of its more than 1,200 stores in the Southeast.

Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix said yesterday the deployment provides an extra safety measure for customers and store associates amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This article is part of the Family Enterprise USA ongoing series showcasing how family businesses are helping their employees, supporting local communities, and giving back during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Some stores already are offering the contactless payment option, and the systems are slated to be in place chainwide on Saturday, April 4, including at the retailer’s small-format GreenWise Market stores.

With contactless — also known as “tap” — payments, shoppers put a smartphone or credit/debit card with the technology near a contactless-enabled device, instead of swiping or inserting a card into the PIN pad. Popular forms of contactless payments include Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

“In these unprecedented times, we recognized the need to make our customers’ trips to our stores faster and more efficient,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in a statement. “By expediting this payment option, we will help customers reduce contact with commonly used surfaces like PIN pads.”

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Contactless payment comes in addition to the existing mobile pay option via the Publix app, which customers can still use to complete their transactions, the company said.

Overall, employee-owned Publix operates 1,242 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia and has a workforce of more than 200,000 people.

Other in-store efforts by Publix to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 include more frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as carts, door handles, PIN pads, ATMs and vending machines; installation of plexiglass shields at all cash registers, pharmacies and service counters; suspension of product and recipe sampling; behind-the-counter relocation of non-single-use condiments (such as creamer carafes and squeeze bottles) at stores with cafés; reduced store hours to allow extra time for store cleaning and preventive sanitation; and designated shopping hours for seniors.

To promote social distancing, Publix also has deployed signs, marked distances on the floor to indicate where customers should line up, and initiated intercom announcements to remind customers to maintain the recommended 6-foot distance between people. Store associates in non-food handling roles — such as cashiers, baggers and pharmacy clerks — have been provided the option to wear gloves and masks as well.

And in support of employees, Publix said it has instituted emergency pandemic pay for full- and part-time associates who show symptoms of o  are diagnosed with coronavirus, as well as those caring for someone with the virus or self-quarantined due to COVID-19.

Last week, the retailer also unveiled plans to hire thousands of associates to fill positions in its stores and distribution centers to help meet the rising demand for groceries as consumers hunker down at home. They include workers from service, manufacturing, warehousing and other business sectors who have been laid off during the COVID-19 economic shutdown, the company said.


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