13 Do’s and Don’ts for Avoiding Germs at the Grocery Store
When you have to go to the store for essentials, protect yourself with these coronavirus grocery shopping tips.
Do wear a mask
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommend wearing masks or face coverings when going out to public settings like the grocery store or pharmacy. Try these homemade mask patterns. If you’re over 60 or are immunocompromised, look into grocery stores with senior shopping hours.
Don’t handle items unless you absolutely have to
How many people felt that avocado before you did? Do your best to avoid handling produce and other items while you’re shopping. Make your best guess and follow the rule we set for our kids with a bowl of communal snacks: if you touch it, it’s yours.
Do bring your own wipes
Grocery stores are paying special attention to store cleanliness, but they can’t always keep up with every cart and handle. Bring your own disinfectant wipes to wipe down anything you need to touch like doors, carts and freezer handles.
Don’t bring your family
The more people you have with you, the more likely someone will pick up a bug. And let’s be honest; grocery shopping with kids is hard enough as it is. Designate one member of the family to shop or look into a grocery delivery service.
Do use electronic payment
If your store accepts Apple Pay or other types of electronic payment, use ’em. If you need to use a debit card, be sure to wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe when you get home. If you have to touch your phone to the sensor for electronic payment, wipe it down as well.
Don’t ask for a receipt
Help protect yourself and your cashier by declining a paper receipt. This cuts down on the contact time and ensures that you won’t have to touch each other. Some stores provide emailed receipts.
Do relax your standards for reusable bags
Reusable bags are great for the environment but also provide another surface that could transmit germs from your house to the store and vice versa. Many stores aren’t allowing them now because they’re often difficult to clean; choose paper at the checkout.
Don’t go in without a plan
The days of lazily strolling around the grocery store until dinner inspiration hits are gone for now. Try to minimize your time out in public by walking into the grocery store with a detailed list so you can get in and get out quickly. Not sure where to start? Here are some tips for how to stock a pantry.
Do be friendly
This is a great time to give your fellow shoppers the benefit of the doubt. We’re all under higher levels of stress right now, and a little kindness can go a long way. Smiling at someone who’s 10 feet away won’t put you at risk, and remember, we’re all in this together.
Who knows? That person you smile at may be one of the shopping angels serving your community.
Don’t buy ripped or damaged packages
It’s important to inspect your packages of meat and prepped veggies all the time but especially now. If you notice a tear in a product, bring it to one of the store employees (wearing your mask of course) so that they can discard it.
Do have a backup plan for your ingredients
It’s no surprise that many of the items on your list may be low-stock or sold out once you arrive at the store. Think through some backup options so that you can still get everything you need. If you’re stocking your pantry, these creative substitutes can help.
Don’t forget your own hand sanitizer
Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your car to use as soon as you finish grocery shopping. Most stores now provide a large bottle of hand sanitizer but everyone at the store is touching the same dispenser. Once you return home, wash your hands with soap and water.
Do wipe down your phone
Most of us use our phones to keep a grocery list or pay for our items, and it can pick up germs along the way. Be sure to clean your phone if you pulled it out at the store.