How To Food Shop During COVID-19

I think I can safely say that everyone’s life has been impacted by the coronavirus.  Everything has changed – the way we work, the way we school, and the way we interact with our friends and family – FaceTime anyone?

One of the only reasons to go out during this global pandemic is to do groceries so you can provide food for your family.  Many people have switched to online grocery shopping which is a convenient and safe choice.  However, many of us haven’t made this switch, which could be due to cost, inconvenience, since its faster to go get what you need then wait for a delivery, or perhaps there are many of us who really enjoy picking out their own produce. Personally, I enjoy doing groceries in person and checking out new or seasonal foods first hand.

In a week I typically make two trips to the grocery store and sometimes even three! I know, it’s not a good use of time, but hey, it happens. However, with everything going on, I have made some changes to stay safe during this time. Here are some tips I follow to be as safe as possible when doing groceries.

Once a Week. I’m doing my to best limit food shopping to once a week. If I forget something then I need to deal with it.  COVID-19 is now in communal transmission. Stay home as much as you can.

Make it a Solo Trip. Only one of us has been doing the food shopping. Staying at home and keeping a social distance is the most socially responsible thing we can do. Even though you may be healthy you need to stay home to protect others — especially older and immunocompromised people who are at greater risk of dying if they contract Covid-19. Examples of chronic conditions that affect the immune system include heart disease, lung disease, lupus, and diabetes.

Cover Your Hands. Hand hygiene, specifically washing your hands, is one way you can protect yourself. When you are out, especially grocery shopping, wear disposable gloves and if you don’t have disposable gloves, use mittens or other thin gloves – just make sure you place them in the washer when you get home. Wearing gloves can help prevent you from touching your face.

Buy Wrapped Produce. If possible, choose fresh produce that is wrapped or bagged. Opt for the pre-bagged oranges, lemons, and avocados. This is where shopping at Costco is great – all the fresh produce is wrapped, even the bananas!

Tap and Go Home. To maintain the 6 feet (2 meters) distance from the cashier, skip the cash and use credit or debit.

Bring Your Own Bags. This is debatable, but if you bring your own bags, make sure you stick them in the washer with your gloves when you get home. If you do buy plastic bags make sure you throw them out when you get home.

Come Armed. I keep a small sanitizer with me and another one in my car. I also bring disinfectant wipes with me. Many grocery stores are providing wipes for people to use, but it’s a good idea to carry some with you in case the store you go to doesn’t provide any. Wipe down the handle, along with the inside of your cart where you are placing your food, don’t forget this step!

Be Safe at Home Too. When you get home, wash your hands and if possible try to use a disinfectant wipe to wipe down packaging since the virus can stay on cardboard for 24 hours. Make sure you thoroughly wash produce before you consume them. You could wash your produce before you put them away to be safe!

Ask for Help. If you have adult children that live in the same town as you, please listen to them and have them do your groceries for you!

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