Grocery remains an indispensable part of our culinary and gastronomic customs and even when the world is hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, we cannot do away with our daily shopping of groceries. Since the coronavirus has started spreading its deadly tentacles across the globe, buyers have several questions going rounds in their minds about how to do your daily grocery shopping safely. So far according to the WHO guidelines, there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted through food particles or packaging or even through the delivery persons who reach out to your doorstep to hand over the stuff you have ordered online.
Some of the departmental stores are temporarily out of order due to lockdown. But there are some shops open and more will be open after the lockdown is lifted. Most of the stores have modified their work hours for enabling their customers to get their daily supply of groceries without much hassle. Moreover, many of the stores are opening for longer hours to restock their shelves, help senior citizens buy their essentials and delivery services. But despite everything you need to maintain your safety while buying groceries from any store and for that just keep a few things in mind.
Tips to Stay Safe While Purchasing Your Essentials During Covid-19 Pandemic
- Make a list of all the commodities you need to buy well ahead of visiting a store. Do not stock items unnecessarily as it may lead to excess demand and a temporary shortage of products. Buy things that will serve you for one to two weeks at the most.
- If you are having even slightest symptoms of Covid-19 (according to the WHO Guidelines they are cough, fever, shortness of breath) avoid venturing out to buy your essentials. Make contacts with the social volunteers of your locality who could do grocery shopping for you.
3. Some stores have their own additional norms for their customers to follow depending on their location. Check your country, state, or locality before taking your precautions.’
4. To maintain social distancing effectively, try to visit your grocery store alone instead of bringing someone to accompany you if not an emergency. Moving in group or pair will put pressure on the management of the store to maintain the norms of social distancing viz. maintaining queues, doing thermal scanning, etc.
5. According to the guidelines of the WHO, droplets released from our nose or mouth while coughing, sneezing, or even talking may travel up to 2 meters. If you are standing closer than 2 meters from a person you may be at risk of contracting the virus if the other person is infected of the same. So, it is always recommended that you maintain at least 6 ft. distance from other buyers or the salespersons. Stand in the queue and wait for your turn. A little patience will save you from the deadly virus.
6. Carry your own bag instead of depending on your store to provide you one. It is recommended that you are carrying a washable bag so that you may wash them after every use.
7. Carry your own sanitizing wipes for rubbing the handles or doorknobs of the store you are visiting, handles of your basket or cart.
8. Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 ft. between you and every other person inside the store. Do not touch your face at all while you are venturing out.
9. Wash your hands very well with soap and water (preferably warm) after returning from the grocery store. If possible sanitize all the items you have purchased from the store with alcohol-based sanitizer or soap water (washable things).
10. There is no evidence of package food containing fomites of coronavirus as per the directives of the WHO. Even then if you are extra cautious you can wipe down your commodities and let them dry in the air.
11. Only buy things that are absolutely necessary. Do not be an impulsive buyer during this pandemic which may lead to utter chaos in the grocery stores and increase the chance of spreading the virus. Also, if you buy and hoard things, it may lead to a shortage of commodities for those who are in desperate need of those. So, just buy things that are sufficient for your requirement up to one or two weeks at the most.
12. It is not always possible to wash your hands frequently when you are out for grocery shopping. So the best way to keep safe is to carry your sanitizer or alcohol-based wipes. You can use them to keep your hands germ-free as well as wipe the commodities you have purchased before bringing them back home.
13. Another important thing to remember while buying groceries from outside is to go for contactless payment methods. It will save you from using your hands and hence lessen the risk of contraction. If you are using cards, make sure you wash or sanitize your hands with a hand-rub immediately after touching the machine.
14. The best option for buying your grocery is getting your products delivered at your doorstep. Know from your local store if they allow home delivery and if not an issue, opt for this method instead of going outside for buying your essentials. Also, it will reduce the stores from getting crowded with buyers and help the salespersons manage traffic easily. You can also opt for online grocery purchases which is another safe shopping method. Make sure you accept your delivery of items as much as without contact from the delivery man. Ask the delivery person to leave your parcel in a safe spot inside your premises. Then you collect it without having to come in contact with the person.
15. Wearing a mask and gloves are mandatory while visiting a departmental store for buying groceries. You can wear a surgical mask or a simple homemade mask. It will protect you from viruses from entering through your nostrils or mouth from the cough or sneeze of a person who may be an asymptomatic carrier of the disease.