How to Shop Smarter and Safer During the COVID-19 Outbreak

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many are practicing social distancing and staying indoors to avoid the risk of exposure to or even spreading the disease. For some people, that means working from home, catching up on the latest Netflix series, and taking college courses online in the comforts of a blanket burrito. While having to make changes to our daily routines one thing is constant: the need and desire for food. Fortunately, most grocery stores remain open so that we can replenish our refrigerators and pantries. But there is one question on everyone’s mind: Is it safe to make a food run or should we try delivery?

 

This would depend on if you are at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has included those individuals at high risk like the elderly, people with respiratory ailments, and others with any other underlying health complications. If you or someone you may know is of “high risk”, then it’s best to stick having your groceries and other necessities delivered. Whether you choose to order online or make a quick run to the convenience store, there are some precautions you can take to reduce your likeliness of getting infected.

 

Order Your Groceries Online

It may be possible that either yourself or delivery person is a carrier to COVID-19 so it’s crucial to keep minimum to no contact with one another. Some services like DoorDash have additional settings where you can specify how you want your food to be delivered and also notify the delivery driver to leave your order outside. And if you plan to tip your driver, be sure to tip electronically rather than handle cash. 

Once you receive your food, be sure to wash your hands before and after handling your grocery items. The CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

 

Making a (Quick) Grocery Run

Since the virus is mostly transmitted through close contact with individuals, social distancing is crucial and to achieve that when going to your local grocery store is by avoiding large crowds. But if your timing isn’t right and you find yourself in a very crowded store, just get what you need and leave. If you see someone you know like your friends or your neighbor just wave and speak from a good distance of 6 feet.

Be sure to also bring hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes so that you can clean your shopping carts and hands before and after you use them. 

 

Handling Your Groceries

The safety precautions of handling food have not changed: when handling fruits and vegetables be sure to clean off any excess dirt and soil by running them underwater. After you put away all of your groceries, make sure to clean and disinfect all of your surfaces that any plastic bags have touched. If you have any food packaging containers to store your groceries with, you can use disinfectant wipes to clean the containers, or you can make your own disinfectant solution. The CDC recommends mixing 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. Then wipe your containers and let them sit for one minute to dry.

 

During this time of social distancing and quarantine, many of us need to make that grocery run one way or another. The key is to be smart about you can go about it to minimize the risk of getting and even spreading the virus, especially to those who are vulnerable. If you plan to head out or think about doing delivery, consider supporting your local grocery stores and restaurants. Some major grocery store chains may be running low on supplies, but your neighborhood market might have some of the products you’re looking for.