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With the coronavirus spreading throughout the country, it’s become a lot more complicated to complete a simple task like grocery shopping.  The lines are longer, shelves aren’t as full, and everyone’s scared of getting sick.  Here’s how you can shop safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Only shop when necessary and carry a list

Before the pandemic hit, some people had a habit of going to the supermarket almost every day.  It’s no longer safe to do so.  Right now, you must only shop when it’s absolutely necessary.  Before leaving home, create a list of everything you plan to buy to minimize your time in the store and ensure nothing important is forgotten.  If you can afford it, pick up enough groceries to last the next two weeks, so you can stay home where it’s safe.

Be one of the first ones in the store

Stores tend to be the most crowded during the middle of the day, so avoid going at that time.  The goal is to be one of the first shoppers through the door when they open.  Many stores now have special hours for older shoppers and those with compromised immune systems.  If you fit the criteria, be sure to shop on those days.

Keep your distance from other shoppers

The CDC recommends at least 6 feet away from other people.  So, keep your distance when standing in line.  Some stores have added markings on the floor to ensure customers aren’t jumbled one on top of the other.  Many stores have also limited the number of shoppers who can enter the store at one time.

Have your groceries delivered

Fill your fridge and pantry without cruising the grocery aisles yourself.  With grocery delivery services, you can have everything you need delivered to your doorstep.  Just fill your digital cart and schedule when you want your items delivered.  Expect to wait longer than usual due to the high demand.  Keep in mind, there will be a delivery fee and minimum order requirement which varies by service.  

Keep your hands clean

To slow down the spread of germs, it’s a good idea to wipe your cart or basket with disinfectant wipes before using.  When it’s time to pay for your groceries, use a contactless card if possible.  Even before the outbreak, cash has always been known to carry all types of dirt and germs which can make you sick.  If you must use your credit or debit card the traditional way, be sure to clean it with a disinfectant wipe after using.  After leaving the store, clean your hands using a hand sanitizer than contains at least 60% alcohol.  Once you get home, immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Note: Gloves are not a substitute for good hand washing.

Wear a face covering

What makes the coronavirus dangerous is that some people who are infected are asymptomatic.  As a result, they can infect numerous people without even realizing it.  Wearing a face covering can protect you and anyone you encounter.  You can either buy or make your own.  There are plenty of tutorials online that can show you how to make a face mask using the stuff you probably already have on hand.

Stay home if you don’t feel well

This is not the time to push yourself to the limit or brush off your symptoms if you’re not feeling well.  Taking a chance puts other people in jeopardy so stay home.  If you need something from the store, you can always ask a friend or loved one to pick up what you need and leave it outside your home.