The entirety of the American population is not on lockdown (not yet, anyway), but a high percentage is only allowed to leave the house to run essential errands. Going out to get groceries is possibly the most essential errand, because people need food to survive. The dichotomy is that you need to enter a public place filled with strangers to obtain groceries. This used to be a normal errand that nobody worried about, but times have changed and now people fear the potential threat of contracting coronavirus.
The new advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has encouraged every person to wear cloth face coverings when visiting essential businesses. Failure to comply in certain cities could mean that people are refused entry to the stores. This goes hand in hand with social distancing measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Some cities have even passed laws that require people to wear cloth coverings at all times when leaving the house.
Can You Get Coronavirus By Touching Food?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not a foodborne illness, and it is not likely to survive the acidity of the stomach in the same way that foodborne viruses or bacteria do. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that is transmitted through respiratory droplets, and no evidence suggests COVID-19 transmission through food, according to Kali Kniel, Ph.D. and professor or animal and food sciences at the University of Delaware. Nonetheless, there are still safety measures you can employ when you go out for groceries.
Have A Plan Of Attack (And A Backup Plan)
Most grocery stores only let a certain number of people into the store at a time to help enforce social distancing. While you are waiting in line to get in, or while you are on your way to the store, plan out what foods you want to buy. Organize a shopping list to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. Finally, have some backup options because the foods or items you want in the store may be out of stock. For example, if there’s no almond milk but macadamia nut milk or cashew milk is in stock, try one of those options instead.
Go Shopping When It’s Less Busy
Mornings at the grocery store used to be free of people, but now there’s a sea of people waiting outside when the sun’s rising. Call the grocery store that you want to shop at and ask if there is a line or wait times to get in. You can also Google search the store’s name and location, and a box will pop up that shows average times of when foot traffic is high or low.
Wear A Face Covering
Most cities have made this a mandatory practice and the CDC has encouraged everyone to follow this instruction. Cloth face coverings provide a protective barrier between you and other citizens. Wearing them also helps keep the items in grocery stores clean and free of respiratory droplets from people who may have the virus.
Leave The Family At Home
Although people are chomping at the bit to leave the house for any reason, the grocery run shouldn’t be a family excursion. Try to go to the grocery store by yourself. Not only does it make it easier to be socially distant, but you don’t have to worry about children touching things they shouldn’t touch, or keeping their distance from others.
Grab Items From The Back Of The Shelf
The items that are located at the front of the shelf are typically the first to be touched. Perhaps someone picked up a box of vegetable stock, thought about it, decided against buying it, and put it back on the shelf. To avoid frequently touched items, reach to the back of the shelves to select those items because they have most likely been handled the least.
Optional Sanitizing Wipes Or Hand Sanitizer
If you plan on using a shopping cart or basket, you can take sanitizing wipes to clean the handles. If you don’t want to wear disposable gloves (not a necessary or recommended practice), you can carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to use after touching commonly touched surfaces like freezer door handles or credit card readers. If you use hand sanitizer, just make sure it is 60-70% alcohol to disinfect properly.
You don’t have to overthink the act of getting groceries. Wash your hands before and after each grocery run, wash your produce, and disinfect the surfaces in your home that the groceries touch. Be safe out there and practice kindness.