The grocery store is one place that’s not seeing business diminish in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, grocery stores are seeing a wave of buying, so much that they’ve had to staff up and increase stocking frequency. Even that hasn’t put toilet paper back on many shelves after a panic run from consumers that experts say was wholly unnecessary.
For older shoppers who may be at greater risk of serious complications from COVID-19, a crowded grocery store is a difficult place to be. Many chains have opened up morning senior hours in hopes of keeping down crowds so older shoppers and others at risk have more space.
Experts seem to agree that delivery is a safer option, especially for at-risk groups. But that’s also not viable for everyone.
Here are a few tips for all shoppers, regardless of age, so they can protect themselves and others from virus spread at the grocery store:
1. Respect those “senior hours.”
The point of reserving time for for older an at-risk shoppers is to keep crowds away. If people outside of those groups don’t abide by those rules, they put everyone inside the store at risk. Stores aren’t hiring bouncers anytime soon, so it is up to us to honor the hours.
2. Don’t touch stuff.
If you aren’t sure you’re going to buy something, don’t pick it up. Try reading the label without touching the item if you can.
Many stores supply wipes for handles on carts and baskets — if that’s available, use it before you begin shopping.
3. Wash your hands.
Do this before and after you go to the store! We know lots of people don’t experience symptoms until they’ve been infected for up to two weeks, so even those who don’t feel sick could be contagious. To protect yourself and other people at the store, head there with clean hands, and resist touching your face.
Wearing gloves to the store may be helpful, but it does not exempt shoppers from avoiding face-touching and other behavior that could spread the virus. Remember, gloves can carry germs just like skin can — the rules still apply.
4. Keep your distance.
Trips to two Bay Area grocery stores this morning confirmed what we all suspected: It’s pretty hard to stay 6 feet away from everyone at a crowded grocery store.
But by being patient and allowing time and space for others to grab those carrots before you reach for the broccoli next to them, you decrease the odds of spreading the virus. This also goes for standing in line to check out: Even if 6 feet isn’t possible, leave more room than normal — much more room.
5. Clean items after buying.
When you get home, take a disinfecting wipe to all metal, glass and plastic containers you bought. It may sound strange, but you can also do this to any produce you bring home, too. A very diluted bleach solution — 1 teaspoon in a gallon of water — could also be an option. Just mist fruits and veggies, and let them air dry.
This will help in the event not everyone at the store was so careful.
One last note: Using a credit or debit card will also help, as you’re not exchanging bills with a cashier. Better yet, use Apple Pay or another contactless payment services, and don’t take the receipt if you don’t specifically need it.
Published at Thu, 19 Mar 2020 21:40:33 +0000