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Keeping Safe While Grocery Shopping During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Staying safe and healthy is the number one priority for people all over the world who take the necessary route to the grocery store. Nowadays, anyone who can get out of the house and go shopping may be wary of other people’s germs. The grocery store is one of the few stores that remained open during the coronavirus pandemic. In the past, many people took the time to impulsively shop and buy food. To dramatically reduce the number of people you could potentially come into contact with, it is now recommended to shop as needed, limiting the number of times per week to two.

Remember that in order to flatten the curve of the infection, you need to restrict public interaction as much as possible and take additional precautions. Dr. Jeffrey Van Wingen shares tips on how to bring food home safely from the grocery store with a video. This content has been reviewed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Firstly, he says that when shopping in a supermarket, you should disinfect your trolley, no matter where you put your food, and the experts agree on that. When he suggests leaving your purchases in your garage or porch for three days, he mentions that this additional precaution should not be applied to refrigerated or frozen items.  COVID-19 can live for up to 24 hours in cardboard and up to three days in plastic bags, according to the National Institute of Food and Drug Administration (NIDA). The novel coronavirus can still spread to surfaces, including food, water, clothing, food packaging, and even food and beverage containers.

Although there are of course places, such as restaurants and grocery stores, where shoppers are in close proximity, however, preventive measures can be taken to keep you safe when shopping. The first step is to be aware of what surrounds you while you are in the grocery store.  Choosing to leave early in the morning or shortly before closing helps with the social distancing that the CDC recommends. The CDC now recommends people wear simple fabric or cloth masks in public places to protect themselves. Stores now make sure that they do not serve or allow anyone in without a mask or protective face covering.

In addition, due to demand, some shoppers have made their way to grocery stores and other public places as people stockpile supplies.  Shoppers should try to avoid containers and shelves where they are likely to be touched by other buyers.  If you see a grocery store that is particularly crowded, it may be a good idea to find one and come back another day. If the shop is congested, come early in the morning or late in the evening.

At a White House news conference, President Donald Trump said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would revise its guidelines advising people to wear fabric masks in public to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Pettis said shoppers should still strictly adhere to social guidelines—stay away from stores as much as possible and wash masks at home. “It’s safe to go to the grocery store when it’s busy,” she said, “but not in the middle of the day.”

“It’s an even safer bet to have food delivered or use curbside services,” she said.  However, as the popularity of such services increases, it can be difficult to book a slot, but it is an option if you do not feel comfortable going out in public to shop for essentials.

– Disclaimer –

This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

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Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 05/22/2020

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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