These days, going to the grocery store to restock on food and essential items can be a bit of an ordeal. A lot of us may be getting worried about contracting the virus in unforeseeable ways, and of course, understandably so. By the time we get to the produce section, it’s not impossible to assume that many have poked their hands at the tomatoes, onions, and garlic before we have.
So how do we go about our grocery shopping without the fear of contracting the virus? There are ways and practices to significantly lower the risks. Here’s a list of things we can do before, during, and after we go out of our homes and go for the aisles.
Before Going to The Grocery
To minimize the number of times we leave the house, it’s important to be well-prepared before stepping outside to avoid taking multiple trips.
- Create a list good for two to three weeks. The key to preventing a return trip a few days after your grocery run is to make sure that you know exactly what to buy. Make a meal plan good for a couple of weeks, and list down all the ingredients that you might not already have in your kitchen. And on that note...
- Maximize the ingredients you already have. Got plenty of garlic? Have packets of oyster sauce sitting on your shelf? Plan out your meals, so that you don’t need to buy new ingredients. Sure, you might have a few cravings, but resourcefulness is key during these times!
- Don’t forget cleaning essentials for two to three weeks as well. One important practice, especially during the lockdown, is to keep your homes disinfected as much as possible. Don’t skip your cleaning essentials when making that list.
- Protect yourself with a mask. While most shops now require a mask for you to enter, a homemade mask will suffice if you are feeling rather healthy. It is important, however, to re-wash your homemade mask every time you come home.
- Bring your own wipes. Some grocery shops provide wipes for the carts, baskets, and freezer doors. But just to be on the safe side, bring your own with you and make sure to dispose properly after use.
During Grocery Shopping
- Keep your distance. There’s a reason why groceries limit the number of buyers they have at a given time. This is to ensure social distancing, so make sure to adhere to it.
- Touch as little as possible as you shop. Limit the things you touch to the items you have on your list. And when it comes to your face, don’t touch it at all!
- If you need to press buttons, push doors, or open refrigerators, don’t use your fingertips. When possible, use other body parts such as elbows, wrists, and hips. If you're wearing a sweater, try wrapping your hand with the ends of the sleeves before opening handles.
- If possible, use a card or an electronic payment system instead of cash when paying your bill. You’re supposed to touch as little as possible, remember
After Grocery Shopping / Getting Back Home
- Wipe down your car seats and handles. If you used your car to travel to and from the grocery store, don’t forget to wipe down your steering wheel, seat belt, and anything else in your car that you might have touched.
- Wash your hands immediately upon getting inside the house. As always, remember to wash them for at least 20 seconds.
- Remove your outside clothes, and put them in the laundry. If you want to go the extra mile, take a shower, too!
- Although not necessary, you can go ahead and wipe the boxes and cans that you’ve bought. According to an article by NPR, as long as you practice good hygiene—that is, constantly washing your hands when handling food—it is highly unlikely to contract the virus through grocery items.
- You do need to wash your produce, though! It is recommended to simply rinse your produce with running water. Use cool water, as a drastic temperature difference could allow the produce to absorb bacteria.
The key to staying safe is to be mindful of your surroundings, and to lessen the risks by taking extra precautions. In order to curb the spread of the virus, however, it’s still best to stay at home as much as possible, and only shop if you absolutely have to.
If you’re considering home delivery options, you may read more about the risks and facts here.