Nationwide, Americans are being urged to stay home. The Covid-19 pandemic has created uncertainty and unprecedented attempts to squash this virus. The biggest thing we can do as a nation is to stay at home unless our jobs are essential. We are asked to not congregate in groups and stay at least 6 feet apart when we do go near another person. The only time we should be in public is to get groceries.
The Covid-19 virus is transmitted from person to person via direct contact or very rarely in the air. By staying away from others, sequestered in our homes, the rate of transmittal has decreased. The original predictions and models of spread have been greatly reduced. However, we still need to go to the store and one day, activities will pick up again.
This begs the question, how do we shop safely now and even as the Covid-19 pandemic begins to slow down? The answer is quite basic, but there are some great rules of hygiene to follow now and always.
Keep ordering online
The good news is that we have already been used to ordering our groceries and other essentials online. Between having items shipped directly to our front doors or just swinging by the store for a quick curbside pick-up, many people already practiced this technique long before the virus showed up.
The bad news is that everyone is doing it. Many time slots are unavailable and many items are out of stock. Stores are having a hard time keeping up with the demand. Your best bet is to order early and just get the essentials.
Time your trips
There has never been a time to be more organized than now. This means having your grocery list ready to go, calculated and timing your trip inside the grocery store or pharmacy. You want to try to avoid the prime time for shopping, which can vary from town to town. Simply Google the store you are planning to visit and usually a box will appear with visitor number and volume displaying right there. You can also call the store and ask what prime time they have been noticing.
Keep in mind that nearly all stores have changed their hours. They tend to be open for a reduced number of hours. Many stores also have a time set aside for seniors. Those 65 years and older are most vulnerable and this could be a great time to get in the store if this is your category.
Be smart when wearing gloves
Wearing gloves out in public might seem like a good idea, but it can actually be worse than not wearing gloves. To avoid spreading germs, wearing gloves in public only makes sense if you plan to change them in between everything you touch. Otherwise, you are just spreading more germs than you are helping.
Is there a good time to wear gloves? Yes. You can consider wearing gloves when you go to pump gas. However, you must take them off then before you touch anything else (like the handle on your door or your steering wheel). Honestly, just using hand sanitizer on your outing will likely be better. You also do not want to take away supplies from places that truly need them, like hospitals.
Wear a mask
The recommendation from the CDC is to use a mask when in public. These can be non-medical cloth coverings to include masks or bandanas. They should cover your mouth and nose when you go out in a public setting. It is especially important to use a mask where social distancing is difficult, like at the pharmacy or in the grocery story. The goal again is to slow the spread of Covid-19.
It is also important to continue to remember to not touch your face or your eyes when you are out in public. Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer often is vitally important. The recommendation is to wash hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60 percent alcohol.
Common sense comes into play when making smart decisions while shopping and trying to avoid catching Covid-19. Essential workers and grocery store employees can only do so much to help keep the store clean and keep you safe. Here is what you can do while out shopping:
- Wipe down the cart or basket. Many retailers are already in the habit of sanitizing carts before offering them to the public. However, it doesn’t hurt to keep wiping them down and stay extra cautious. Bring your own wipes if you can.
- Be aware of your surroundings. As you shop, be conscientious of the people around you and work hard to maintain the 6 foot distance that is recommended.
- Avoid using cash. People have also been advised to use debit or credit cards to prevent money from being shuffled around.
- Keep on sanitizing and washing. Before you even leave the store, wash your hands again after the check-out process.
- Wash up at home too. It doesn’t hurt to wash the counters, the car and any place that packaging has touched. You cannot over-sanitize.
Using some common sense and a ton of sanitizer is going to be your best bet to staying safe while shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic. This could be the way of life for the next several months. Follow the guidelines from the CDC and you will likely be successful.