Grocery shopping is a must for many families during the Coronavirus outbreak. At the beginning of the pandemic, many people rushed to the store for necessities to last them for months. Since then, new research and mask mandates have changed the way we run errands — especially shopping for food and essentials. But is it safe to make trips to the store or should we be seeking other alternatives to gather goods? Here’s what you need to know.
CDC Recommendations for Grocery Shopping
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offered a few tips when running essential errands like grocery shopping. It’s recommended to use online shopping, curbside pickup and delivery options when possible, especially if you are sick.
If you must venture to the store, it’s best to go when stores are less crowded or go during designated hours if you are immunocompromised. Here are a few other recommendations when running errands for essentials:
- Remember to practice social distancing by remaining at least six feet from others. Follow any signs to help with these efforts.
- Disinfect your shopping basket or cart upon entering the store.
- Wear a mask, and don’t touch your face or eyes.
- Avoid touching products you don’t intend to buy and use touchless payment methods if they’re available.
- Use hand sanitizer when leaving, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you get home.
Many families may use bleach, disinfectant sprays or wipes on food and produce to reduce the spread of the virus or other germs. But this could be very dangerous if accidentally consumed. The CDC reports that the virus has a low risk of being on food, its packaging or bags.
Grocery Shopping with Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic
There are varying opinions about whether or not children should take trips to the grocery store during this time. It’s best to travel with only one other household member and only if necessary. Smaller groups help with social distancing practices and could help with less crowded stores. To help reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, it’s best not to take your child to the store unless you have to. If you must take them, go early or later in the evening when it’s less crowded.
How Often Should I Go Grocery Shopping?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests only buying up to two weeks of groceries at once. It’s best to produce a shopping list in advance to cut down on your time in the store. Remember to buy only what you need. Avoid panic buying or getting too much at once because both stores and families will face a shortage of essentials while others have more than what they’ll need. You should also avoid stocking up on sanitation and disinfectant items in bulk for the same reason.
Are There Safer Alternatives to Grocery Shopping in the Store?
If you’re immunocompromised, you may not feel comfortable taking trips to the grocery store and being around crowds. Fortunately, there are a few alternatives to help you get food and essentials.
Many families are relying on delivery services like Shipt and Instacart to shop at your local markets and deliver your groceries to your door. Some of these delivery services call for subscription or delivery fees. And since the pandemic, families must schedule their groceries weeks in advance due to higher demand for these services.
There’s also the option of curbside pickup for some grocery stores. Order your groceries online from your local market and select a pickup time. When you arrive at the store, they’ll load your bags and goods into your trunk for a contact-free pickup. Keep in mind that some of these services cost additional money and are in high demand, too.
You can also choose outdoor or farmer’s markets to shop in an open space. It’s also a great way to shop for fresh local produce.
We understand that some trips to the store are inevitable, but remember to do so safely. This is also a good time to explore other delivery service options that best fit your family’s safety needs without the worry of large crowds.
Regardless of what option you choose, you should always wash your hands for 20 seconds after you bring your groceries home and after you put them away. Don’t forget to disinfect your counters as a precautionary measure. And most importantly, stay home if you feel sick.