Grocery Shopping Tips During COVID-19
We’ve all had to make unexpected choices during COVID-19. Should you go to a restaurant? Your parents’ house? What about taking your kids to their favorite theme park when it opens? Sometimes, these choices are informed by restrictions–for example, not being able to go to a concert because it’s been cancelled due to limitations on large gatherings. Other times, we make choices based on how comfortable we feel, both physically and mentally. One thing that isn’t a choice during COVID-19, however, is buying groceries.
You have to eat, so you have to go grocery shopping. While there is no reported connection between grocery items and virus transmission, it’s understandable to be worried about exposure to COVID-19 during a shopping trip. This makes it a nerve-wracking yet necessary task. Fortunately, it’s possible to get it done while remaining safe. Here are some practical tips:
Big Trips > Short Trips
Plan on bi-weekly grocery trips during COVID-19 to minimize your risk–or weekly trips, depending on how quickly the growing teenagers in your house deplete your pantry. It helps to have an idea of what you’ll be cooking for the next 7-14 days so you can plan accordingly.
Don’t Go Crazy With Stocking Up
Remember in March when we were all hoarding toilet paper and desperately searching Amazon for hand sanitizer? Now is a good time to be a little more rational. Buy what you need, but pay attention to limitations on staple items, and leave some for other people. You will be able to find dairy again, we promise.
Have a List
Minimize your time at the grocery store by having a shopping list. Honestly, this is great advice for the post-coronavirus world too. Who wants to spend all day at the grocery store?
Bring Hand Sanitizer
Not all grocery stores will have hand sanitizer available at the entrance, so have your own on hand, and use it before and after entering the store.
Wear a Mask
Masks can help with the spread of COVID-19. Show your fellow shoppers you care by wearing one.
Practice Social Distancing
Keep at least six feet between yourself and other shoppers. Whether you’re standing in line at checkout, waiting for your number to be called at the deli counter, or perusing the produce section, give everyone a little extra space.
Follow Aisle Arrows
Many grocery stores have set up arrows in their aisles to keep foot traffic in a one-way direction. When you enter the grocery store, look down to make sure you’re walking the right way. No one wants to be that guy who is moving in the opposite direction down the ice cream aisle.
Shop During Non-Peak Hours
Social distancing can be tough if you visit the grocery store on Sunday afternoon when everyone is shopping. If you’re able to, plan your trip during a non-peak time. If, like many people, you are working from home and have some flexibility in your schedule, try going first thing in the morning. Some stores offer special shopping hours for seniors, so if you are in that age group, take advantage of this.
Use a Card Instead of Cash
Handshakes and hugging are on a temporary hiatus during COVID-19, and while it’s unlikely that you would ever need to do either at the grocery store, a shopping trip can often involve brief human contact when you hand over your cash. Minimize this by opting for a credit card instead. Sanitize your hands after using the pin pad.
Wash Your Hands After You Get Home
After you’ve returned to your home with your bounty of groceries and the joyful feeling of having a freezer full of frozen pizza, wash your hands. Do so before and after putting away your groceries. If you’re wearing a reusable mask, toss it in the hamper to be washed before your next grocery trip.
Use a Grocery Delivery Service
If you’re worried about getting COVID-19 or experiencing symptoms, opt for a grocery delivery service. There are so many to choose from these days. The go-to choice for many people is Instacart, but there’s also Amazon Fresh, Walmart Grocery, and Shipt. Many of these offer contact-free delivery. You can also utilize curbside pickup at grocery stores, or try that meal delivery service you’ve been curious about.
Feeling takeout instead? This is a delicious way to help local businesses during COVID-19. We’ve got a list of tasty takeout spots, plus other helpful resources on our blog.