Publix is removing the one-way aisle signs it put in its stores at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, with the exception of locations under local ordinance.
The grocery chain, which has 1,250 locations around the United States, removed most of the markers over the weekend even though the nation is still struggling with the pandemic.
"We implemented one-way aisles at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic to help our customers understand and practice social distancing and over time, it has become widely understood and adopted into our routines," Maria Brous, director of communications at Publix, told TODAY Food in an email. "We will continue to provide friendly social distancing reminders in our stores, through signage, floor markers at checkout and other queuing areas, as well as through our public address announcements."
The one-way aisle signs were divisive — at least on social media. Plenty of customers complained about the shopping experience on Twitter.
"Hey @Publix enough of the one way aisles already. They are unnecessary and causing too many issues," said one Twitter user. "I run in for one item and have to go down the freaking pet food aisle to get to what I need. I get just as close to ppl 1 vs 2 way aisles."
"Love Publix so much but please stop the one way shopping aisles. As a rule follower, I end up traveling down aisles, potentially contaminating, JUST to get to the item I need. Enforce the mask policy but for the love of God please stop one way aisle shopping," another person added.
Other shoppers wondered why Publix was choosing to remove the directional markers now, when the coronavirus still isn't under control in the U.S.
"Why did @Publix take off their one way aisle stickers???? dude we’re still in a pandemic," wrote one Twitter user.
"So angry that @Publix has decided to change their one way aisle directions because of email feedback," another person added. "Are you about feedback or safety @Publix ??"
While the signs are now gone from most stores, Brous said the grocery chain remains committed to promoting social distancing amid the ongoing pandemic to ensure shoppers and staff stay safe.
"We continue to take actions across our operations to help safeguard the health and well-being of our customers, associates and communities," she said.