During lockdown hours, there are still a few things that we cannot escape from doing – shopping for groceries, for example. Many of us are still going out to shop for food and toiletries. And while we must do it, there is a safe way recommended by food safety experts and virology experts.
There are a lot of people who are scared of getting infected with the virus by touching the groceries. However, experts agree that the biggest risk they undertake is going to the store and getting in touch with people who are or may be infected.
“While it is possible to contract the virus [from contaminated surfaces], the majority of transmission is probably going to be from respiratory droplets, which you’re exposed to when you’re around other people,” says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
So, here are some tips on shopping safely.
1. SHOP QUICKLY AND AVOID CROWDS
Always go to grocery stores that limit the number of people inside. Yes, this means that you will have to wait more time outside, but it is worth it. And when you are in the store, then you should try to be as fast as possible. Have a list and move through the store efficiently and quickly. And always maintain social distancing.
2. SHOP ALONE
Bringing your family to the store will only add more people inside and it is unsafe for others and for your family as well.
3. SANITIZE YOUR HANDS AND THE CARTS
When you enter the store, sanitize the handles of your basket or cart. There are many stores that sanitize them regularly, but it won’t hurt you to sanitize them yourself with your hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes. Also, don’t touch your face when you are in the store and avoid using your phone there.
4. LEAVE THE GLOVES AT HOME
Anytime you touch an infected area with your gloves, the infection is on your gloves. “I’ve seen a lot of people wearing gloves out in public, and they just kind of wear them all day and do a lot of normal activities, like talk on their phone, potentially eat, potentially handle food that they’re going to eat later with those gloves on,” Rasmussen says. “And that’s not great practice.”
5. PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING WITH THE CASHIER AS WELL
The people who work at the grocery stores are at most risk because they are in contact with many people during the day. So, protect them by staying at least 6 feet away from them.
6. CHOOSE NO-TOUCH PAYMENT WHENEVER YOU CAN
If you have Google or Apple Pay use them. If not, then a credit card will be fine. Just avoid paying with cash. And sanitize your credit card after paying.
7. DON’T DRIVE YOURSELF CRAZY BY DISINFECTING GROCERIES
Just washing your fruit and vegetables is enough. And you also don’t need to disinfect every single item you have. Just disinfect your hands after shopping.
And if you are still anxious about going to the store, then the safest way is to order online. You can pay ahead and then have your groceries delivered outside your door with little to no face-to-face contact.