Grocery shopping changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But since food is a basic commodity, how should you go about running essential errands during the coronavirus crisis?
The coronavirus is quite deceptive. Some COVID-19 patients can be ‘superspreaders’ even without manifesting any symptoms. What appears as a normal individual shopping in the same supermarket as you may just be the source of the virus that could probably infect you.
You can opt to buy in stores that have designated pick-up zones or drop-off services. But if you must go to the supermarket yourself, here are things you need to know before, during, and after grocery shopping.
Before leaving the house
These tips can help make your trip to the grocery safer and easier during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Only one person must run errands or buy essential goods
This is to lessen the risk of COVID-19 transmission in and out of the house. If possible, refrain from shopping if you have a comorbidity or a weakened immune system.
2. Bring a shopping list
Having a list of what you need to buy minimizes the time spent in public places. It’ll also ensure you’ll only touch the items on your list.
3. Wear a face mask
Since a lot of places have already opened up and people are starting to not wear masks, it’s still important that you wear masks so they can protect you from contracting the virus.
4. Wear gloves
Gloves can help protect you when touching contaminated surfaces. Dispose of them properly afterward.
5. Bring disinfecting wipes or an alcohol-based sanitizer
These are handy for cleaning cart handles and surfaces you might come in contact with. Put them away in their proper place after use.
While inside the supermarket
When entering and roaming around the supermarket:
1. Always maintain a safe social distance from other shoppers
Stay at least six feet away from employees and shoppers. Supermarkets and grocery stores have also set up lines and visual markers on the floor so make sure you follow them. This is to help you estimate the right physical distance from another customer.
2. Minimize physical contact
Avoid rush hours when stores are crowded. If it can’t be avoided, steer clear from crowded lanes and disinfect your shopping cart before you use it.
3. Avoid touching your face
Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. These could provide the virus a means of getting into your system. If you have to sneeze or cough, use disposable tissue or do it on the inside of your elbow.
4. Let the assigned sanitation worker assist you
This could be an employee designated to point you to the restroom or station where you can wash your hands, provide hand sanitizer that contains at least 70 percent ethyl or isopropyl alcohol, and check your temperature before entering the supermarket.
5. Make your stay as short as possible
The longer you stay inside a closed space or a crowded place, the higher the risk of coronavirus infection.
After getting back home
Grocery shopping is a simple task that turned into a nightmarish chore because of the pandemic. When you get back home, these are the things you need to do to avoid bringing the virus home to your loved ones:
1. Prioritize food safety
Sanitize or disinfect food items before storing them in the fridge or pantry. Wash fruits and vegetables before consumption. Do this within 24 hours.
2. Practice proper sanitation
Leave your shoes at the door and wash the clothes you wore right away. Throw away food packaging in the proper waste receptacle and disinfect your items before storing them.
3. Take care of yourself
Wash your hands with soap and water. Some people would even take a quick shower after a visit to the supermarket, grocery store, or pharmacy. Strengthening your immune system and taking Vitamin D can help boost your immunity. You need this when you’re running essential errands during the coronavirus crisis.
To prevent grocery shopping from becoming a frightful experience during the pandemic:
- Accept the fact that the pandemic resulted in supply chain disturbance and higher prices of basic goods.
- Take advantage of online grocery shopping and grocery delivery.
- Avoid a trip to the store and stay at home if you have enough to feed yourself and your family.
- Always act with care and caution.
- Don’t resort to panic buying.
Running essential errands during the coronavirus crisis is tough. Any public place like the supermarket or the shopping mall contains all of the coronavirus’s three C’s: Closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact. But by following safety protocols, proper disinfection and hygiene, and taking extra precautions, grocery shopping should be safe and easy.
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