How to Stay Safe When Grocery Shopping During the Corona Virus
by Joanne Troppello
In our household, we usually go shopping once a week on Saturdays. We went to our local Aldi and Walmart last Saturday and many of the shelves were wiped out. Most of the products that were out of stock were items like toilet paper, tissues, cold and flu medicine, fresh produce, and candy.
It was a surreal experience for me to see that. I joked with my husband that this felt like we were shopping during the zombie apocalypse.
In one of President Trump’s Corona Virus Administration updates this past weekend, he said that he had spoken to CEOs of several grocery store chains like Costco, Walmart, and Krogers.
These retail business leaders asked him to tell the American people to please not panic buy. They wanted everyone to know that they will work diligently to continue to keep the shelves stocked each week.
VP Mike Pence said that we should continue with our weekly shopping needs only.
Some stores like Foodtown, which is a 30 store grocery chain in Texas have decided to accommodate their senior citizen population by providing special shopping hours so they can avoid shopping with crowds.
Helpful Tips for Pandemic Shopping from Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports released tips this week on How to Protect Yourself from Corona Virus When Grocery Shopping. Some of those tips include the following:
Use soap and water to wash nonporous metal, plastic, and glass containers before you put them away in the refrigerator or in your cabinets.
Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands and any surface that the groceries touched, like countertops, tables etc.
You should always wash fruits and vegetables to remove pesticides, but soap and water should be used to prevent contact with the COVID-19 virus.
If groceries are dropped off or delivered through a delivery service, don’t meet the driver, and they will no longer drop off in customer’s homes.
Don’t exchange money by hand but utilize the electronic tipping services available for compensating delivery drivers.
Due to the high demand for grocery delivery services, make sure you plan accordingly and order ahead of time for when you need them delivered.
When picking up pre-packed groceries from services like Giant’s Order Online for pickup, follow the same steps from the beginning.
Stay Safe with These Tips for Shopping During Corona Virus
We should all try to use common sense and stay calm. Now is not the time to panic. I have been listening to the daily briefings from the White House to see any updates from the Administration about the Corona Virus.
Some of the following are tips that I have been doing and will be implementing in our household to keep my sanity and protect our health during this time.
1. Plan Out Menus and Rationing
Even before the Corona Virus outbreak, I planned out the menus for our meals each week. We are currently on a budget and want to save money, so we already ration our food. Now, I’m not saying that we’re starving. I’m saying that we are trying to buy food items and consume them with common sense.
For example, my husband likes tortilla chips and we only purchase three 11 oz. bags and he puts a portion each day in a small bowl so he’s not eating too much and he has enough for the week. Of course, he doesn’t usually go through all three bags of chips each day. However, this rationing helps with sticking to our budget, enjoying enough food throughout the week, and using portion control to help with weight loss and not overeating.
During this Corona Virus outbreak, you can use menu planning and rationing to ensure that you are only buying food products that you need and can easily get in and out of the store quickly with your menu and shopping list in hand.
2. Shop Smarter Not Harder
Of course, you can use these tips all the time to protect your family and become a smarter shopper. However, it’s extremely important to shop smarter and not harder during this outbreak.
On the Glenn Beck Radio Show on 3/16/2020, Glenn shared that 1 person infected with COVID-19 will likely infect up to 248 people and of that number, 2 people will die from the virus. That statistic was very staggering to hear. I am glad that the government and the private community is working together to share helpful information and close places for self-isolation and social distancing.
Talk to the manager to find out when the new stock is delivered so you can go to the grocery store at that time before items are wiped out. Hopefully, after President Trump and his Administration made the announcement that the grocery stores will be working to continually keep the stores stocked—and they asked people to stop panic buying—things will get better.
However, with the way that the media continues stoking this virus hysteria, people may not use common sense and may continue panic buying. We spoke to the manager at our local Aldi this past weekend and he said that trucks deliver new stock every day by 9 am and in the last two weeks, many shelves were cleaned out by 11 am. Try to plan your shopping accordingly.
You may want to consider shopping online or at stores that do grocery pickup. Aldi delivers groceries, but they don’t do that in our area. We’re considering trying the store pickup for groceries this weekend at our local Giant.
3. Wash Hands and Use Anti-Bacterial Soap
It’s important to wash your hands after shopping. Bring a germicide with you to wipe down the cart that you’ll be using while shopping. Be a good citizen and wipe it down after you return your cart. Consider making your own antibacterial hand soap using rubbing alcohol or witch hazel, aloe vera, water, and essential oils like Thieves from Young Living.
Pioneer Thinking shared some recipes for antibacterial hand soap that include ingredients like honey, essential oils, and Castille soap. We haven’t made our own homemade antibacterial soap yet, but I want to try one of these recipes this weekend.
4. Don’t Exchange Cash, But Use Cards
We don’t all generally think about this, but cash contains a variety of bacteria like Staphylococcus Epidermitis, Bacillus, Streptococcus, and E-coli. According to Step to Health, “exchanging cash and change is one of the ways that bacteria transfers from person to person globally.” Make sure you wash you hands or use anti-bacterial hand soap after handling cash or change. Don’t touch your face or eyes after touching currency.
Consider using your debit or credit card only so you don’t have to pass or receive germs by exchanging currency at the check out line. Some grocery stores may accept Google Pay or other payment apps so you can pay for your groceries without having to touch and open your wallet to get out cash or cards.
5. Take Precautions When Unpacking Groceries
Remember to follow the precautions described in the section as reported in Consumer Reports. It is a good idea to get in the habit of completing these steps all the time you unpack groceries, even after the virus outbreaks ends.
Of course, taking these precautions take extra time. However, preventive measures are always better when trying to protect your immune health.
6. Make Sure You are Enhancing Immune Health
COVID-19 generally affects people more who are over the age of 65 and those who have a compromised immune system or have health issues like diabetes or heart conditions. Even if you contracted this virus and didn’t experience dangerous health risks or death, you need to be cognizant of the fact that you can infect those who are at risk of fatality.
Take preventive measures to enhance your immune health like getting better sleep, reducing stress, and taking natural supplements like Vitamins D, C, and B. Check out more ways to enhance your immune health during this Corona Virus outbreak and even afterward.
How do you feel about shopping during this time of the COVID-19 outbreak and when people are panic buying? Are you taking any steps to stay safe during this time while shopping?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Mustard Seed Sentinel. She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, SEO and social media, travel and lifestyle, website content, recommendations for apps, and content for blogs. Visit her Amazon Author Page for more information regarding her books. Connect on Twitter. Read more about Mustard Seed Sentinel here.