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Protect Yourself from COVID-19 When Grocery Shopping

April 08, 2020

As our environment rapidly changes, even normally mundane tasks such as grocery shopping can be decidedly more difficult than they once were. We need to keep our refrigerators stocked and our families fed, but how do we remain safe and free from germs in the process of doing so?

Here are some important tips to keep in mind as you grab your essentials:

If You Can, Stay Home

A lot has rapidly changed in a brief period, even when it comes to discerning who is at risk for getting sick with COVID-19. While we do know the elderly generally have a harder time combatting this virus, those with immunodeficiencies or chronic diseases should avoid going to the grocery store altogether. Lean on family members or neighbors instead of doing visits on your own. When that isn’t an option, consider having them delivered instead. 

Avoid a direct hand-off. Instead, have groceries delivered to your front door and retrieve them shortly after they arrive. Use an application on your smartphone to pay and/or tip electronically so you lessen any risk of exposure. Make sure you have enough groceries to last at least two weeks. A couple of trips to the store each month is plenty. 

Keep Your Carts Clean

If you do go to the store on your own, follow all recommended safety precautions. Ensure that you are six feet apart from other shoppers at all times, even if both of you are wearing face masks or cloth face coverings. Wearing a mask in public places is recommended, and that includes the grocery store, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Consider bringing along your own disinfectant or germicide for the grocery cart you use. Plan what you’re going to buy ahead of time so you can make your trip as brief as possible.

To Disinfect Is Best

Once you return home, leave any groceries that don’t need to be refrigerated in your garage. Collect your canned goods and put them away the next day, even disinfecting them as a precaution. Did you know you can make your own disinfectant using just two ingredients? All you need is bleach and water: Either ⅓ of a cup of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons per quart of water, according to the CDC.

As an added rule, disinfect your counters. Always wash your hands. And if there is food that is sealed in plastic and inside a box (such as cold cereal, for example), you can take it out and dispose of the box altogether. Repeat this with potato chips, pouring chips into containers and throwing away bags.

What is now taking place affects everyone. Safely collecting your groceries is important, but so is being kind. Store employees are trying to keep all common areas and grocery carts clean and they’re doing the best they can. As you shop, keep in mind that we are all in this together: Practicing kindness and practicing social distancing hold equal importance.

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