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Grocery Shopping During the COVID-19 Lockdown

5/29/2020
From staying safe while in the store to making sure your groceries are sanitized before putting them away, it can take hours before you can actually sit down to enjoy a meal. Our team has compiled a list of simple steps and tips to follow to make the grocery shopping process as safe and straightforward as can be.
 
Grocery shopping has become a tedious task during COVID-19 as a few hours are spent just waiting on queue to enter the grocery stores, waiting on long check-out lines, and finally returning home to unload your groceries at a cleaning station and then moving on to categorize groceries into which can be disinfected, which need to be washed, and which can be kept out to air dry depending on their shelf-life.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding grocery shopping by ordering food and other items online for home delivery or curbside pickup. However, this option is not always possible as many online stores and curbside employees are also not equipped for the large number of people ordering supplies and orders can be delayed or slower pickup.

Although the risk of being exposed to the novel virus from your groceries appears to be low, the same cannot be said about grocery shopping. Be sure to follow these guidelines to avoid exposure when at the grocery store.

Before Leaving the House:

  • If you are searching for a particular item, such as water or milk, make sure to call the store prior to leaving the house to see if it is in stock during the day.
  • If you are bringing back items for return, call the shop beforehand to see how they would want things returned as they may have a no-contact collection point.
  • Many grocery stores and retail stores have suspended or modified their return and exchange policies during the pandemic regarding food, paper goods, cleaning supplies, laundry soap, pharmacy, health, beauty, and apparel. Call ahead or check the store’s return policy ahead before making a trip to the store.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when you must go out in public.
  • If possible, choose only one person from the household to do the grocery shopping as the fewer the number of people that go out, the less the virus will spread.

Entering and Exiting the Store:

  • Minimize shopping time by creating a grocery list of the essentials that you need during lockdown.
  • Visit during early hours or end of day for lower traffic. Many stores offer early-morning hours that are dedicated for the elderly or other vulnerable populations that may need more time, less pressure, and more distance to feel comfortable while shopping.
  • Use your knees, feet, elbows, or knuckles to press buttons and open doors instead of fingertips to avoid any bacteria or viruses from coming in contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Watch out for any signs the grocery store has posted regarding the limitations on groceries, store hours, and guidelines to follow while inside the store.
  • Check if the store has set up different doors for entering and exiting.
  • Designate one of your pockets to disinfecting wipes or hand sanitizer for when you enter and leave the store.
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Inside the Store:

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others while shopping and waiting in line.
  • Maintain a safe distance even if others around you are not practicing social distancing.
  • Check if the store has a one-way walking policy marked by arrows throughout the store and avoid going back on them when possible.
  • Use disinfecting wipes to clean the shopping cart and only touch the disinfected areas of the cart.
  • Avoid using bare hands when sorting through food and instead use a glove or stick your hand inside a fresh produce bag when inspecting vegetables and fruits.
  • Avoid touching things you are not willing to buy to stop the spread of viruses.

During Checkout:

  • Use contactless payment methods at checkout or use hand sanitizer directly after handling money and touching kiosk surfaces.
  • Protect the cashier and store workers by maintaining distance as they come into contact with many customers throughout the day.
  • Set the purchases in the cart with the barcode side up so the checkout clerk can use a hand scanner instead of touching the items when possible. 
Overall, it is important to remember that everyone is trying their best to get used to the new norm of grocery shopping during the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information regarding the recent outbreak, visit us online or on the mobile app.