Publix announced Friday it was providing rent relief to tenants in its shopping centers.
The rent relief is being offered to businesses operating in Publix-owned shopping centers that have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It includes waiving rent and common-area maintenance fees for two months, regardless of whether the tenant is eligible for other forms of relief or assistance.
"As a company that started as a small business 90 years ago, Publix wants to help businesses renting from us survive the economic impact of these unexpected closures," said Publix Director of Communications Maria Brous in a statement.
The company announced on March 23 that one of their Cumming, Georgia, store employees tested positive for COVID-19, and the next day the company announced it would erect plexiglas barriers to separate shoppers from cashiers and pharmacists. The company told the Tampa Business Journal on March 24 that they would not allow cashiers and baggers to wear gloves or masks.
On March 25, Publix CEO Todd Jones released a video encouraging customers to buy only what they need, and not stockpile items, saying "we have ramped up deliveries to serve our communities, and we're restocking our shelves throughout the day."
An online petition was started March 20 calling for Publix to pay employees time and a half as hazard pay during the coronavirus pandemic. As of Sunday night, it has reached 6,654 of its 7,000 signature goal.