These days, going grocery shopping can be a little bit of an issue. While many people opt to get their groceries delivered, others still have to physically go to the grocery store because there are just some things you can’t find online (a shock, tbh). There are also items—like seafood and meat—that are better to buy in person.
With safety as the number one priority, here are some reminders for your next jaunt to the supermarket:
Before you shop
Unlike the olden days, grocery shopping is something that you need to meticulously plan out. List down all the grocery items that you need and make sure to get all the items on the list and buy enough items to last you a longer period of time to avoid going out again. It’s also better to shop on weekdays versus weekends to minimize contact with other people.
Aside from wearing masks, you should also definitely wear face shields as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. Although they don’t protect against infection by themselves, wearing them with facemasks lessens your risk of infection. Most establishments also require the use of both masks and face shields before you enter.
Make sure you also bring your own pen just in case you need to fill out contact tracing forms before being allowed to shop. And don’t forget to bring a bottle of alcohol or hand sanitizer!
While you’re shopping
Dawdling and leisurely browsing through the aisles are the enemy. With your list, go straight to where the items you need are and check out quickly. The longer you stay outside, the higher the chance of infection.
Watch your hands
The second you get your cart, make sure to wipe down the handles and the insides with some alcohol or sanitizer before you take it for a spin. As a rule of thumb—and as a courtesy to the staff and other shoppers—only touch what you’re going to buy and nothing else (including your itchy nose under the mask).
Even before the pandemic, paper bills were considered carriers for germs and bacteria. If the establishment offers cashless payments through apps like GCash or PayMaya, it’s best to pay that way to avoid money changing hands, signing receipts or touching payment terminals.
Space (yourself) out
Social distancing is still being strictly enforced in all commercial establishments, so best to keep aware of your surroundings and avoid getting too close to other people. When checking out, make sure to maintain your (social) distance from the cashier behind the counter and the baggers helping you with your groceries. They’re working through the pandemic, so keeping your distance is the least you can do for everyone.
Sanitize your hands in the car
When you get to your car, thoroughly sanitize your hands with sanitizer or alcohol. Make sure you also wipe down the surfaces you touched with your unsanitized hands (like handles, the steering wheel, keys and locks). It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Wash up and wipe down
Even if you were being careful with what you touched, washing your hands when you get home is still extremely important. Also, make sure to wash them for at least 20 seconds. Instead of counting you can hum to the chorus of Toto’s “Africa”, Beyoncé’s “Love on Top” or Belinda Carlisle’s ’80s pop anthem “Heaven is a Place on Earth”.
The American Academy of Family Physicians also suggest that you take a shower, change and wash and launder your used clothing before interacting with others.
Bags, shoes, wallets, keys, glasses and especially phones should also get a thorough wipe down as soon as you get home.
Store and clean well
Instinct may tell you to spray your newly purchased items with some diluted bleach or surface cleaner, but the CDC says that’s exactly what NOT to do. Instead of spritzing your shopping bags with Lysol, they recommend that you follow proper food safety protocols instead (like proper storage at the right temperatures).
Wipe down the grocery bags with some alcohol and make sure to go over where you put them down with disinfectant after you finish cleaning up.
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