Tribute to frontline women: YALIANYS ‘YALI’ ROQUE

Yesalianys Roque, “Yali” for short, was 13 when his family moved from Cuba to Marathon. She was 15 when she started working at Publix after school, on weekends and every summer.

“I was a bagger, cashier, pharmacy technician and customer service associate. Then I started management training at the age of 22, ”said Roque, 37, who is now the customer service manager at Key Plaza in Key West. But she worked in all Publixes across the Keys.

“This business is all I know,” she laughs. “He takes care of his employees, his customers and our communities.”

Never has this commitment been more evident than after a hurricane and during this pandemic. Anyone who stayed in the Florida Keys for Hurricane Irma remembers, with a tight throat, the reassuring sight of a stocked Publix truck descending into the United States.

And in March 2020, almost overnight, the world changed. Customers were to be masked and separated. Supply shortages necessitated purchasing limits to ensure that as many people as possible could purchase Clorox toilet paper, paper towels or wipes. Caddies and contact points had to be disinfected every hour. Stickers have been added to the floor to ensure social distancing. The store offered early hours for senior shoppers and curbside grocery pickup for everyone.

CDC security guidelines seemed to change hourly, with Roque and his associates constantly adjusting their protocols and policies.

“My top priority is always to make sure that our associates provide the best service and shopping experience for our customers, and yes, there were challenges during the pandemic, but so many people appreciated our efforts so much. , it was so rewarding to be a part of it.

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