Throughout these weeks and months of the pandemic, Americans have experienced grocery shopping to escalate from panic buying to waiting in line six feet apart while many stores limit the number of shoppers at the same time. Grocery shopping has remained one of the few exceptions to the shelter-in-place orders.
Many folks, particularly the elderly, have opted for groceries to be delivered, which many large food chains are offering. Carry out from restaurants has saved some establishments from shuttering their doors.
For those who venture out, masks are common on shoppers and store clerks and most large stores have placed a thick plastic shield between shoppers and the front-line cashiers. Bags are no longer reusable or returnable for recycling. Nor are items in the stores once they are purchased.
The best time to go shopping for those 60 and older at some stores is before 9 a.m. – generally an hour of shopping that allows for less exposure for the most vulnerable to COVID-19. Many chains also are allowing this for those who are immunocompromised or have more than one disease.
Many stores post signs outside about their cleaning procedures and social distancing practices. Those are the stores to visit when necessary.
When shopping, try to wear a face mask and bring a sanitizer or disinfectant wipes of some sort to wipe down shopping cart handles and keypads. Leave your children at home. Bring as little as possible but try to bring a list so you can be as efficient as possible. It’s suggested to shop no more than once or twice a week and combine any other errands like the bank or pharmacy so that you cut down on your exposure outside with multiple trips. It’s also suggested to try to shop for about a two-week period and not to hoard items needed for months.
Social distancing also is important to practice when shopping in the store. That is becoming more likely with stores that are limiting the number of people allowed in at one time. Many stores have check-out lines that mark six-feet distances. Don’t crowd the next person to get out quickly. If you can pay through Apple or Google Pay, that is one less surface to touch when checking out.
When you get home, the first thing is to wash your hands. As you put away groceries and other items, it’s suggested to wash your hands. Wash all fruits and vegetables, of course, and wipe down the surfaces on which plastic or paper bags sat on your countertop. Launder reusable or cloth shopping bags after every use.
Wear gloves? The experts say not necessary. And here are some other important tips from experts – focus on people, not the food: https://n.pr/3baGrOY
Epicurious, a food-centric website since 1995, offers answers to some of your shopping questions: https://bit.ly/2VcAhbH