Coronavirus tips: How to grocery shop safely during COVID-19 pandemic

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One of the few reasons we should leave the house during this time of social distancing is to buy groceries. Shopping can feel like a daunting task if you have anxiety about catching the virus from other shoppers or from simply picking up a can of soup and placing it in your cart. There are steps you can take to shop as safely as possible.

Shop when it's not crowded. Try to get to the store early in the morning or shop at off-peak hours when stores are less crowded. If you arrive and the store is packed, go back at another time.

Bring your own sanitizing wipes. Most stores are providing sanitizing wipes, but it’s a good idea to bring your own just in case your store has run out. Wipe down your cart before you shop. Not just the cart handle either, try and get the child seat clean too.

Wearing gloves and a mask is not necessary. If you wear gloves and touch a contaminated product, your gloves will just contaminate the next thing you touch. The World Health Organization’s general advice concerning masks is, if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected COVID-19 infection. Your best practice is to avoid touching your face while shopping and wash your hands when you get home.

Should you try to ‘disinfect’ fresh fruits and veggies? “No. Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19, said Dr. Elizabeth Bihn, Director of the Produce Safety Alliance and Executive Director of the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University. “COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, most likely to be transmitted person to person. Current guidance from USDA recommends rinsing produce under cold running water to remove any lingering dirt. If there is a firm surface, such as on apples or carrots, the surface can be scrubbed with a brush.” Dr. Bihn added, “Ingesting bleach, other sanitizers, and detergents can be dangerous and lead to other health issues.”

If you are considered a high risk individual, have your groceries delivered, if you can. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests elderly, immunocompromised, people with respiratory ailments, heart disease or diabetes or are undergoing cancer treatment should avoid going in public.

The above video includes even more steps you can take to ease your mind and shop as safely as possible.
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