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Publix, Bi-Lo, Harris Teeter, Food Lion to install plexiglass in all stores for protection during pandemic

Aldi, 2 restaurants waiting to open, another being built

Publix cash registers

Plexiglass panels will be installed, starting this weekend, at cash registers, customer service desks and pharmacies at all Publix supermarkets to add a level of protection between customers and workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Warren L. Wise/Staff

Customers at Publix, Bi-Lo, Food Lion and Harris Teeter supermarkets will soon notice plexiglass panels in areas of the store with direct interaction with shoppers.

Florida-based Publix will begin installing the acrylic plastic partitions this weekend at cash registers, customer service desks and pharmacies in all of its stores, according to spokeswoman Maria Brous.

The company expects every store to have plexiglass installed within the next two weeks.

Bi-Lo parent Southeastern Grocers said Thursday it will install the shield in similar areas in all of its store by April 3. It will also mark its floors so that customers must remain two cart lengths apart at checkout.

Food Lion announced Friday it is installing the plastic panels as a safeguard as well, with completion by next week.

Matthews, N.C.-based Harris Teeter expects to have its shields installed by Thursday.

"Harris Teeter is installing protective shields at check stands, customer service and pharmacy counters to provide additional protection for our valued associates and shoppers," spokeswoman Nicole Case said.

Publix's move comes after an employee at a store in Cumming, Ga., north of Atlanta, tested positive for coronavirus Monday.

The store underwent a deep clean, and the Georgia Department of Health determined that customers were considered low risk of exposure and products sold do not pose any risk to customers, according to media reports.

Publix refurds

Publix is not offering refunds on items purchased during the coronavirus pandemic. Warren L. Wise/Staff

Publix, like Costco Wholesale, also has adopted a policy of not accepting returns on items purchased during the pandemic. The new policy is posted in check-out lines, and other companies are expected to follow suit, if they haven't already.

Grocers have launched shorter hours during the pandemic to allow for sanitizing and restocking overnight.

Bahama Breeze site construction

Site construction is underway for the new Bahama Breeze Island Grille restaurant near Northwoods Mall in North Charleston. The restaurant will be built where the former Sears auto shop stood on Rivers Avenue. Warren L. Wise/Staff

On the way

Construction has begun on a new restaurant coming to North Charleston.

Myrtle Beach-based Sturzenbecker Construction Co. recently filed a notice to start the development of the pad where Bahama Breeze Island Grille will be built for its first location in South Carolina.

Bahama Breeze

Site preparation has begun for the new Bahama Breeze Island Grille restaurant coming to an outparcel near Northwoods Mall where Sears auto shop once stood. Warren L. Wise/Staff

The restaurant, part of Orlando-based Darden that operates Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and others, will be constructed where the former Sears auto shop operated before it closed in 2017 at 7811 Rivers Ave.

The old auto shop was recently demolished, and work crews on Wednesday were digging up the old foundation to prepare the site for the new restaurant's construction.

An opening time frame has not been announced.

Aldi sign Summerville North Main Street

The opening of discount grocer Aldi on North Main Street in Summerville has been delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Warren L. Wise/Staff

On the burner

Three new food-related venues set to open by late March or early April throughout the region have been caught up in the coronavirus pandemic.

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They include a new grocery store in Summerville and two restaurants in Mount Pleasant.

Discount grocer Aldi was supposed to open its second store in Flowertown on Wednesday, a company real estate worker at the North Main Street location said while going through a punch list of last-minute construction jobs on the property.

Aldi sign on Summerville door

Discount grocer Aldi was set to open Wednesday on North Main Street in Summerville, but the launch has been delayed because of the coronavirus. Warren L. Wise/Staff

The opening date is now uncertain because supplies are being redirected to other stores to try to meet the heavy demand brought on by the pandemic, he said.

The new store's shelves are stocked with staple items, but perishables are being rerouted elsewhere. The store also is waiting on its signage to be installed over the entrance.

Passersby may also notice heavy equipment working on a site next to the new Aldi. The location will house a Jiffy Lube auto shop while a property just to the north of it is being outfitted for a new Fins Car Wash.

Aldi's other Summerville location can be found on Dorchester Road. Aldi has another store in Mount Pleasant and is building another one in North Charleston where Barnes & Noble Booksellers operated on Rivers Avenue.

First Watch

First Watch restaurant will be ready to open at Mount Pleasant Towne Centre as soon as the coronavirus threat subsides. Warren L. Wise/Staff

The two restaurants waiting to open in Mount Pleasant are in two high-traffic or highly visible locations.

At Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, the Charleston region's second First Watch location was eyeing a late March opening to welcome its first diners across from yoga wear purveyor Lululemon.

The opening is in flux now for the restaurant. When it does open, it generally operates early mornings to mid-afternoon.

First Watch has another Charleston-area restaurant on North Main Street in Summerville in the shopping center where Earth Fare supermarket closed recently, just up the street from the new Aldi.

First Watch operates three other locations in South Carolina in Bluffton, Fort Mill and Simpsonville.

Orlando's Pizza

Orlando's Pizza will soon open its second location in the Charleston area at Mathis Ferry Road and Wingo Way in Mount Pleasant. The other site can be found on Daniel Island. Warren L. Wise/Staff

Also in East Cooper, a Daniel Island pizzeria was set to open its new outpost in Mount Pleasant by early spring, but it, too, has been held up by the virus.

The signs are up on Orlando’s Pizza at the former Momma Goldberg’s Deli space at Mathis Ferry Road and Wingo Way, not far from the base of the Ravenel Bridge. No opening date has been announced, but workers on Wednesday were delivering supplies.

The current location for Orlando’s is at 295 Seven Farms Drive, where a worker said the new restaurant hopes to open in a couple of weeks, but it all depends on the virus.

Convenience delivered

A Charleston-based convenience store chain is now offering delivery service.

Refuel Market adapted its app to offer the service at its first test location on Daniel Island. In coming weeks, the company will roll it out to other stores, according to CEO Mark Jordan.

The convenience store can deliver food and other items except for alcohol and tobacco, which must be picked up at the store. Deliveries are made in company vehicles by company employees within five miles of each store.

Do you know of a retail business that is in the works during the current coronavirus pandemic? Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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