The biggest coronavirus risk many of us face is going grocery shopping.
The nature of shopping at supermarkets makes social distancing difficult. In fact, when stores get crowded it’s impossible.
And there’s no way to avoid handling food packages that may or may not be contaminated with coronavirus.
But the fact is, we all need to eat. By now you know about wearing a mask and staying at least six feet from other people.
Supermarket Safety: Should You Disinfect Your Groceries?
Here are seven more ways to make your trip to the grocery store as safe as possible…
- Make a “smart” grocery list. Minimize your time in the store by making a list that takes into account the location of the items. List items by aisle so you don’t have to go through any part of the store more than once.
If you purchase groceries at a major chain such as Target, an easy way to do this is to download their app to your phone. You can create grocery lists that will automatically tell you what aisle your items are on…and will group them in that order.
- Bring disinfectant wipes with you. Some stores say they clean cart handles between customers. But to be on the safe side, bring your own wipes.
- Go when the store is least busy. How do you know? Enter the name and location of the store into a Google search. It will bring up a bar graph showing the number of people who tend to be there at a particular time. You can also call the store and ask an employee.
- Avoid using paper money. A study published in the journal PLOS One examined dollar bills. Researchers found they were routinely contaminated with viruses.
It’s safest to go with mobile pay apps on your phone such as Apple or Google pay. Credit or debit cards are a good option if you can swipe it yourself without handing it to the cashier.
Have your own pen ready in case you have to sign a receipt.
- Leave gloves at home. “Gloves don’t really protect you,” said Dr. Bettina Fries. She’s chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook University in New York. “(The virus) sticks to the gloves the same way it sticks to your hands,” Dr. Fries said. “It’s not different.”
- Instead, make sure to wash your hands before and after shopping.
- Buy as much as possible in one trip. If you can afford it, get enough groceries to last you two weeks rather than one. The fewer times you go to the store, the less chance you’ll be exposed to the coronavirus.
- Don’t worry about disinfecting grocery items. The Food and Drug Administration has said there’s no evidence of anyone contracting coronavirus from food or food packaging.
Just be sure to wash your hands after putting everything away.
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