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How to shop safely during the coronavirus pandemic

How to shop safely during the coronavirus pandemic

For many of us, the only place we are coming into contact with others outside our households during coronavirus lockdown is when we venture out to get groceries.

How to shop safely during the coronavirus pandemic

So how do we make sure we don’t catch COVID-19 from our supermarket trips and bring it into our home? Here are tips to shop safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Limit trips to the store

Even though you’re still allowed to go to the supermarket, it doesn’t mean you should be heading there every day. Try to buy a week’s worth of groceries when you go shopping.

Plan ahead

Minimise your time in the supermarket and avoid loitering by putting together a list of items before you go.

Check supermarket policies

Find out what your local supermarket is doing to protect its customers. See whether they are limiting the number of shoppers inside at all times, are providing hand sanitiser, and are sanitising after the shop is closed. If your local store isn’t taking precautions, avoid shopping there.

Keep your distance

Stores may be limiting the number of people allowed in the supermarkets, but keep aware of your distance from other shoppers and store employees all the same and stay two metres away from them. 

Don’t rely on masks and gloves

The World Health Organisation does not recommend the general public wear masks, but if you are choosing to wear masks and gloves to the store, don’t let them give you a false sense of security – make sure you are still practising hygiene measures such as washing your hands after you shop and avoiding touching your face.

Wipe down surfaces

Before you start shopping, wipe down the handle of the shopping cart or basket. Be courteous to the next shopping by wiping down the handle after you’re finished too. If you have hand sanitiser, use it when you’re finished shopping. It will also pay to bring some wipes and remember to wipe surfaces such as the handles of your car. If you don’t have wipes, don’t panic. Just be sure to wash your hands after you’re done and try not to touch your face.

Wash fresh produce if you’re eating it raw

COVID-19 transmission is largely person-to-person, and there is currently no evidence of the virus being transmitted through food. Practising your usual food hygiene measures should be enough to protect you from the virus, but if you want to be extra cautious, you can follow these tips.

Make sure you wash any produce that you are going to eat raw. There’s conflicting advice about whether you need to wash vegetables with soap or just running water. If you want to use soap, use one specifically designed for washing vegetables or a natural dish soap. Cooking will kill the virus, so if you’re worried about catching the virus from produce that other hands have touched, only eat cooked vegetables.

Viral particles do not survive well on paper or cardboard surfaces, and although they survive longer on hard surfaces, contamination from jars and plastic containers is not a big risk. But if you’re wanting to take extra precautions, when unloading groceries, sanitise your kitchen bench and divide it into two halves. With one side designated as the ‘dirty’ side and the other the ‘clean’ side, move items from the dirty side to the clean side once they are sanitised. Or of course, you can simply wash your hands after handling packaging.

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