You might be wondering how you’ll meet your basic household needs like buying groceries and medicines and completing banking activities in the midst of a pandemic. As much as possible, you need to stay home to avoid getting exposed to or transmitting the coronavirus. But if you have no other choice, this following information provides guidelines on how to go grocery shopping safely and healthily.
Before Going to the Store
Here are safety precautions before going to the store
- If you’re sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, avoid shopping, and just stay home. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Try considering online grocery shopping or using a curbside pickup. •If you can’t get delivery, try shopping at off-peak hours and buying as many items as you can from one store (rather than visiting multiple stores).
- Visit the grocery store only if you need to. This will limit your potential exposure to others and the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Don’t bring the whole family. It’s best to shop alone to reduce the number of people going to stores. This will also limit your children’s exposure to the virus.
At the Store
If you’ve already finalized the decision of going to the grocery store, here are some guidelines you need to follow.
- When you do have to visit in person, go during hours when fewer people will be there (for example, early morning or late night).
- If you are at a higher risk, contact the store to find out if it has special hours for people at a higher risk, Try to shop during those hours. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
- Sanitize your hands often. Use hand sanitizer before entering the store and after leaving. You don’t have to use rubber gloves. This is because the gloves become contaminated the same way your hands do. Washing or sanitizing your hands before and after entering the store is what’s important
- Also, disinfect the shopping cart with disinfecting wipes or rubbing alcohol.
- Wear a mask. The CDC now recommends that people wear cloth face coverings when they go out, including when they go to the grocery store. This recommendation is intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from people who are infected but don’t realize it because they aren’t showing symptoms.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- As with any public setting, you should maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) from others.
Make sure not to spread the virus in the house by observing the following:
- After leaving the store, use your hand sanitizer
- Wash your hand when you’re home. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after handling food packaging.
- Rinse your produce. This is highly recommended, whether there’s a pandemic or not. This helps remove dirt, debris and pesticides, and reduce levels of foodborne germs. There is no need to use soap, though. Dish soap is not approved for use on foods, and consuming it could lead to nausea and upset stomach
- Wash reusable bags. If you use reusable grocery bags (although some states, such as Massachusetts, have banned reusable shopping bags during the pandemic), you should wash them after a trip to the store, either by putting them in the laundry (for cloth bags) or using soap or other disinfectants for plastic bags