Let’s keep the strange going as we round out 2020, which has been something unimaginable to say the least. We don’t know about you, but does it ever feel like you’re in a surreal movie? Well, we can only do our best to provide you with advice to stay as healthy as possible as we progress through these trying times.
Now, we face a time of year when the masses typically gather in malls, stores, restaurants, and houses: the holidays. Given that social distancing, mask wearing, and being outdoors help prevent the spread of COVID-19, holiday shopping poses a couple problems. For starters, most holiday shopping occurs indoors, where ventilation is minimal. On top of that, you have people crowding in stores, which may or may not limit capacity due to county regulations. The good news is that there are easy ways to reduce you risk of contracting COVID-19 during holiday shopping.
#1: Take Advantage Of Online Shopping
One of the best parts about living in a digital age is that we have access to almost every single store from the comfort of our own homes. We can sit in pajamas and buy everything we could ever want. The great thing about online shopping during COVID-19 is that most retailers have an extended return policy, so you can return the items if they don’t fit or match the description. The only thing to keep in mind is that shipping during the holidays will be a nightmare, so you need to do your shopping like yesterday. This is the safest way to shop during the holidays.
#2: Use Curbside Service
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, many businesses offer curbside pickup. Avoid the crowds, remain in your vehicle, and simply pick up your items by taking advantage of curbside services. You can order online and select curbside pickup, or you can call ahead to order. This is a great option to minimize interaction with the public.
What does that stand for? Bring your own sanitizer, of course! This is a must if you plan on shopping in stores this holiday season. Fortunately, most stores and malls installed many hand sanitizer stations and regularly disinfect the store to ensure customer safety. While holiday shopping typically takes place at malls, which have bathrooms, it’s a good idea to bring hand sanitizer. Even though bathrooms offer soap and water (the best option for hand washing), those bathrooms will probably be crowded. If you do bring sanitizer, make sure that it contains at least 60% alcohol.
#4: Use Contactless Payment Options
Most stores encourage the use of contactless payment options to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. When paying for your in-store purchases, try to pay with a contactless credit card. Simply hold the card above the payment terminal or tap the appropriate area. This helps you avoid physical contact with payment terminals, which are high-touch items, and cashiers. You can find out if you have contactless payment by asking your card issuer or looking for the wave symbol on the card.
#5: Follow CDC Safety Recommendations
Depending on which stores or malls you visit, this may be easy or difficult. Any time that you venture out into the world, always take a mask, bring hand sanitizer, and be prepared to socially distance. The most important rule is to wear a mask. You may even see people who decide to wear a surgical mask and cloth mask. Anytime you leave a store, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, provided that option is available. If you visit the CDC’s website, you can find more tips about staying safe during holiday shopping.
#6: Try To Shop Locally
Where do most people shop during the holidays? They head to malls and big commercial stores that sell popular items. The smaller local businesses, which sell handmade products, are in need of your support. Plus, they offer unique gifts that often match the sensibilities of the people you are shopping for. Not only does shopping locally make your gift more personal, but it also supports the community. Additionally, these stores will probably be less crowded, and they’ll do a better job at regulating capacity.