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How to Stay Safe While Shopping During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Let’s be honest. Going grocery shopping during the COVID-19 crisis feels like going for a supply run during the zombie apocalypse. It’s stressful and intense. But your shopping trips don’t have to be an episode of The Walking Dead.

Now that retail stores are opening up there are things to consider before hitting the clothes racks. Here are things you can do before, during, and after your shopping trips to keep you and your family safe.

 Before You Go

Before you go shopping make sure you really need to do so, we are still safer at home.  Finding a way to shop and support local is great and you can continue to do so curbside and online. For groceries stick to only buying essential items. And if it’s possible, consider using a grocery delivery or grocery pick-up service instead.

If that’s not an option, be sure to make a list of the items you need so you can make your shopping trip as quick as possible. For groceries try to shop for two weeks’ worth of items so you can limit the number of trips you need to make.

And leave your children at home, if you can. This will help you get in and out faster and protect them from being exposed to the virus.

Before you head out, be sure to grab a mask or other face covering, hand sanitizer (use sanitizer before and after putting on your mask), and sanitizing wipes to bring with you. Put your credit card or cash in your pocket, so you won’t have to touch items in your purse when you’re ready to check out. Also, check to see if the store has an app before you go, many stores like Publix now allow paying through an app so you don’t have to even swipe your card.

Shopping won’t be as quick as it used to be as stores must limit occupancy to 50% so don’t go if you are in a hurry. Plan to wait in line.

While You’re Shopping

When you arrive, use your wipes to clean your shopping cart or basket.

If shopping retail, window shop, and avoid touching the items unless you are ready to purchase or try them on.

While you’re shopping, be sure to keep six feet between yourself and other shoppers. If someone is in front of something you need, just wait for them to move on. Be patient and be careful not to touch your face while you’re shopping.

After you check out, use hand sanitizer or a wipe to clean your hands, especially if you had to use a touchpad or accept change.

If You Went Grocery Shopping Do This Once You’re Home

Wipe down groceriesOnce you get home, wash your hands immediately.

In an interview with UAB News, Mirjam-Colette Kempf, Ph.D., MPH, an infectious diseases expert and a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, recommended setting up a sanitation station once you get home.

You could place your groceries on a table and then wipe down all of your items with a sanitizing wipe before putting them away.

Kempf says you do not need to wash your produce before you put it in the refrigerator. Simply wash them before you eat them, just as you normally would.

When you’re done, sanitize the area where you’d placed your groceries. Then wash your hands again.

With these steps, you can help protect yourself and your family while getting the items you need as you shelter in place and stay safe at home.

Cecilia Pearson
Cecilia Pearson


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