by: Kayla Kenig
With the stay at home order still in full swing, we should only be leaving our house for essential reasons, like grocery shopping.
Although this is a good step to support social distancing efforts, people now tend to all gather at the grocery store, making a simple shopping day a potentially risky task.
Some have assumed the best way to safely shop is to wear masks and gloves, and sanitize anything you touch and everything you buy. But surprisingly enough, all of that might not be necessary, or the best way to keep safe.
If you’re wondering the best way to stay safe while out-and-about, you’ve come to the right place! Here are the do’s and don’ts of safe grocery shopping!
1. Go alone and with a list
When going grocery shopping, it’s best to go fast and efficiently. This means going by yourself and going with a list of items you know you need. You don’t want to be in there longer than necessary.
2. Wear a face mask
Not only is this a statewide rule, but it’s smart. Even if you don’t have the virus, or don’t think you have the virus because you don’t show symptoms, you still might. And you don’t want to be spreading it to others.
3. You don’t need to wear gloves
That’s right! Those gloves you haven’t taken off all day might be doing more harm than good. Unless you’re sanitizing them every so often, any bacteria that glove has come in contact with has spread to other things you’ve touched. It’s better to just sanitize your hands often than to wear gloves 24/7.
4. Give everyone space
Distance yourselves, follow the 6 feet apart rule, especially with cashiers. They have more potential to come into contact with the virus than you, so do them and yourselves a favor and stay 6 feet away from them. If you see a person or two in an aisle already, maybe let them grab what they need before you go in for your item.
5. Sanitize hands and carts
Most grocery stores make this easy with having sanitation posts in front of their doors, but it’s still a good reminder to wipe down the cart as well since that is something everyone is touching.
6. Use credit or debit cards to pay
Don’t put the cashier at risk with using cash. Instead, go for the contactless method of payment and use you debit or credit card when checking out.
7. There’s no need to disinfect ALL your groceries, but if you do, don’t use disinfectant products
That’s right! Not every item you purchased needs to be cleaned off. Since the bacteria can’t survive over 24 hours, if you know you aren’t going to eat something for a day or two, there’s no need to wipe it down. You definitely can if it makes you feel better, but there’s no need. And if you do wipe things down, soap and water will suffice. Disinfectants are meant for hard surfaces, not plastic and cardboard boxes.
8. Rinse produce
It’s best to rinse your fresh produce in just cold water. If you rinse with soap and water, you risk ingesting the soap which can cause diarrhea and vomiting. If water isn’t cutting it, you can use a brush to thoroughly clean it.
9. Order your groceries online
If you truly do not want to go to the grocery store, that’s fine. Plenty of stores offer delivery or curbside pickup of groceries ordered online.
10. Go shopping during the non-busy times
This is probably a more obvious one. If you’re not sure when the non-busy times are at your local grocery store, call and ask. It might be early in the morning or late at night, but at least you won’t run into as many people. Just remember, most stores are reserving their first hour for senior citizens or who are at higher risk for contracting the virus. Don’t go during these times unless you meet the store’s criteria. It can save a life, or several.
11. It may not be necessary to completely de-contaminate when you get home
Unless you live in a household with small children, or people at high risk of contracting the virus, it isn’t really necessary to immediately shower and change clothes after coming home from the store. But, if you feel more comfortable doing so, by all means do it.