This is the second blog in a series on Stay Safe During The Pandemic.
Revised August 2, 2020 Originally published July 28, 2020 Deborah Esplin
Do you wonder how to shop safely during the pandemic? During this time with coronavirus, COVID-19? What should you do to be safe when you get home? We will look at the 9 tips from the government of Canada that answer these questions.
Safe Shopping During Coronavirus, COVID-19
Sanitize your hands at the store entrance
Whether it is required in your area or not, this is a good idea. That way we stop adding to the contamination that people bring into the store and leave in the store. If stores do not have a supply on hand, then bring your own.
Bring your own reusable grocery bags if permitted. Otherwise, use the store bags
If you have reusable grocery bags that can be thrown in the washer that is the best. Then you can use them once and wash them and you know they will be clean. If the stores don’t permit you to bring your own bags, then follow the remaining tips below to be safe.
Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres between people
The stores seem well organized in my area in terms of putting lines on pavement outside the door and at the check out stations. But they are not necessarily that well organized in helping people keep their distance in the aisles. If the aisles have not been marked for one-way traffic, then the best is to follow the flow of people and go in the same direction as everyone else. You may need to slow down your shopping trip so that you wait until aisles are clear and you can safely proceed and keep the distance.
Wear a non-medical mask or face covering in public
Whether it is required in your area or not, wearing a face mask in indoor, public spaces is a good idea.
There have been several studies carried out on people that test positive for the virus but do not feel ill and do not have symptoms. In China, this study was carried out and reported in the journal of Nature Medicine in July 2020. The study found that spread of the virus by asymptomatic people is a significant source of transmission in the population. However, the World Health Organization, in June 2020, says there is not enough research to have a definitive answer on this question. Research is ongoing and there are several studies that do point to the virus being spread by people who do not know they are sick. This article, in the Advisory Board , has a good summary of the research.
For these reasons, by wearing a face mask, we protect other people from our own breath. If we all wear face masks, we protect each other.
Don’t touch items you will not buy
As much as possible, do not touch an item unless you are going to buy it. This way we reduce the contamination between put on the items in the store and we reduce the potential contamination that we can pickup while shopping.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth
When you are outside the home and/or wearing a mask, do not touch your face or any part of it. If you hands have become contaminated, you could contaminate yourself. If your mask has become contaminated, you could contaminate your hands and then yourself.
We touch our faces, according to this study, an average of 23 times per hour. Most of the time we are not aware of this. It is a good idea to become aware of when you are touching your face and making a conscious effort to not touch it.
Sanitize your hands when you leave the store
If hand sanitizer is offered by the store when you leave, use it. That way you will not keep any potential contamination on your hands while you continue your errands.
Wash your hands when you get home
This should not surprise anyone. Governments and health experts around the world have been saying this for several months. Whenever you come in your home from having been outside you should wash them with warm water and soap. In my blog last week, Best Practises Against COVID-19 For Your Food (link), I talked about why soap and water are effective. Check that out for more information.
When you come home, if your hands have become contaminated, you don not want to spread that contamination around your house. By washing your hands as soon as you enter, you will prevent that from happening and keep your home safe.
Put away your groceries
Once you have returned home and washed your hands, you put away your groceries.
Wash your hands after putting away the groceries
Once all the groceries are put away, you wash your hands again. In case there was some contamination on the groceries, you will get it off your hands.
My Safe Shopping Routine
I have a small bag, which I call my COVID kit, and there I have clean masks, baggies for dirty masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
I sanitize my hand and shopping cart when I enter a store. I wear a mask and stay away from people. I will remind people to keep their distance if they get too close. When I leave the store, I sanitize my hands again so that I will not contaminate my car. In case there is no sanitizer at the exit I have my own in my kit.
When I get home, I wash my hands, and put the bags of groceries on the floor. I pull out my food items and put them on the counter for sorting, then I put them away. Then I wash my hands again. I will then wash or disinfect my kitchen counters, put the grocery bags in the wash. With a disinfectant wipe or cloth and disinfectant liquid, I will go clean all the high touch surfaces of my home.
Then I wash my hands again.
With these tips you can feel confident that you are doing enough to be safe when you go out shopping and when you return home.
When Should You Wash Your Hands
According to the Center for Disease Control, in the US, these are all the times when you should wash your hands.
Before, during and after preparing food
Before eating food
Before and after caring for someone who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
Before and after treating a cut or wound
After using the toilet
After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
After glowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
After handling pet food or pet treats
After touching garbage
After having been in a public place
After touching a surface or item touched by many people
Before your touch your eyes, nose or mouth
The American government recommendations closely follow those of Canada.
If you work in a food plant, you would also wash your hands at every task change, when you enter food production areas, and often, everytime you change rooms, after smoking, after breaks, after touching your face, after coughing or sneezing, and after picking up items from the floor.
Check out my video on this topic:
Here is a link to another blog post in the series: Best Practices Against COVID In The Home To Keep Your Food Safe.
Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.
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Comments are welcome. I would love to know what you think.