Amid global lockdowns, a weekly trip to the local supermarket is some people’s only chance to get out of the house. For those who have pre-existing conditions or are immuno-compromised, heading down the narrow aisles of the grocery store can cause significant levels of anxiety. Even when supermarkets limit the number of shoppers entering at one time, it can be challenging to maintain a distance of 1.5m. So, what do you need to do to stay safe during your weekly shop?
Sanitize Your Hands
All health officials agree that touching your face is the easiest way to catch the virus. That’s what taking plenty of antibacterial hand sanitizer with you to the store is a wise move. The need for this previously humble product has skyrocketed so dramatically, that savvy companies are actually handing out bottles of custom branded promotional hand sanitizer as a form of guerrilla marketing. Keep plenty with you and use it as you mean it at frequent intervals!
Wipe Your Trolley with Disinfectant Wipes
Many supermarkets provide disinfectant wipes at the entrance, and it is a good idea to make use of these. Give your trolley handle a good wipe down before you use it as many hands will have touched it before you.
Wear Disposable Gloves
The jury is still out on disposable gloves. As long as you are washing your hands regularly, you probably don’t need them. But given that we touch our face an average of sixteen times an hour, and probably aren’t stopping mid-shop from washing our hands, I find that wearing gloves helps me minimize the face touching.
Wear a Mask
Early on, there was lots of conflicting advice around face masks. However, it seems pretty clear now that COVID-19 can remain in the air for periods of up to three hours. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people use a cloth face-covering whenever they head to the shops. Using a mask is another good reminder to keep your hands away from your face until you can wash or sanitize them.
Choose Your Timing
If you have some flexibility around when you head to the supermarket, see if you can make the trip when it isn’t as busy. This timing might vary from supermarket to supermarket, but given all the panic buying, it seems that soon after opening is still the peak time to be doing the groceries. If you can go around lunchtime or later in the afternoon, you will most likely find it easier to stay 1.5m away from any other shoppers. Try to avoid weekends as those who are still working standard hours will be doing their shopping on a Saturday or Sunday.
Offer to Shop for your Elderly Parents or Friends with Health Conditions
Now more than ever, we need to work together and do what we can to help out anyone who is in a vulnerable situation. Picking up some fruit, vegetables, and toilet paper for your 90-year old next-door neighbor might save their life, so let’s foster as much community spirit as possible in this tricky time. Helping others also goes a long way toward improving their mental health (and your own) while we are socially isolating.
We are living in an unprecedented time in history, and taking some extra precautions when heading to the grocery store will help keep you and your family safe, and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. We are all in this together.