Like most people, you’re probably wondering how to do the once-mundane task of grocery shopping safely—further proof of how drastically the pandemic has changed our day-to-day life.
While going outside the home always entails some risk, there are things you can do to minimize it. Below are important guidelines you should abide by when grocery shopping:
Minimize trips to the grocery store
COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through person-to-person contact, which is why the less time you spend grocery shopping, the lower your risk of encountering an infected individual. Prepare a grocery list beforehand so you can quickly grab what you need and head home immediately after. Limit grocery runs to a weekly or bi-weekly schedule, and purchase essentials in bulk so you don’t have to head out as often. Don’t hoard, however, as this might cause shortages of crucial food items and cleaning products. Buy just enough supplies to last you a week or two.
Designate one person to shop for groceries
Don’t make grocery trips a family affair—the more people there are in the store, the greater the risk for everyone inside it. Remember that airborne diseases spread much faster in enclosed spaces with centralized ventilation, such as grocery stores. Health authorities recommend that one person be designated to do your family’s groceries, which limits your household’s exposure to COVID-19. Ideally, this person knows how to drive and is at the least risk of catching the virus. If you need another person to help you load and unload your groceries, make sure your companion stays in the car while you shop.
Sanitize your shopping bags
For the eco-conscious shopper, reusable grocery bags are a must. However, note that some grocery stores have stopped allowing customers to bring in their own bags as an additional safety protocol. If you are allowed to bring nylon bags in, clean them with soapy water first, then disinfect them with a diluted bleach solution. Cloth bags, on the other hand, can be washed as you normally would, but dry them using the warmest setting. Don’t forget to sanitize your hands after handling grocery bags, as well as the surfaces they touched (e.g. your countertops). Store your bags in a clean and dry location so they’re ready to use whenever you need them.
Observe safety protocols while shopping
While grocery shopping, make sure to comply with the store’s health precautions. If the staff asks to take your temperature, allow them to do so. Always wear a mask while inside the premises and observe proper social distancing. Once inside the grocery store, sanitize both your hands and your cart before you start shopping. Limit what you touch on the shelves and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Though others insist on wearing gloves, experts advise against it as they create a false sense of security. Instead, sanitize your hands periodically as you shop.
Don’t bother with disinfecting groceries
For the record, you don’t have to disinfect your groceries when you get home. While it’s true that you could catch COVID-19 from touching contaminated surfaces, you’re more likely to get it from being in close proximity to infected individuals. As long as you wash your hands after storing groceries, before preparing food, and before eating, you’ll be safe. Moreover, sanitizing your groceries might actually be worse, as most disinfectants are not food-grade and thus leave harmful chemicals that your family might ingest. Rinsing food under running water is more than enough—the cooking process should kill off any remaining pathogens.
Shop online instead
Perhaps the safest way to grocery shop is to do it online. Major stores like Walmart can deliver groceries to your doorstep or allow curbside pickup. Even online-only retailers like Amazon offer grocery deliveries and you can get great deals from many merchants. Not only does shopping online keep you safe, it also leaves you more time to enjoy the many fun things to do in East Cobb, especially as attractions reopen around the state (albeit with additional safety protocols). Just avoid person-to-person contact when receiving your orders, and immediately throw away the packaging. As always, wash your hands after handling stuff from outside your home.
While the way you shop for groceries has undoubtedly changed, it’s all part of the so-called new normal. Following these precautions won’t just protect your loved ones but those around you as well.
If you’d like to know more about living in Georgia, get in touch with the Page Morgan Team at 770.509.0700 or 770.579.5650 or send us an email at info(at)pagemorgan(dotted)com. Our team will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.