There will be times where making a grocery run during the lockdown period is necessary. This is a very crucial moment where safety precautions have to be strictly followed to avoid catching and spreading the coronavirus.
If you are the designated person in your household to do make a run for food, medicine, and supplies, here are some grocery tips to keep yourself and your entire household protected against COVID-19.
1. Use masks properly
Health experts have already said that masks should be reserved for people who are actually exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms; healthy individuals should stop hoarding these items to make sure there’s enough supply for patients and frontliners.
If somehow you already have masks on hand, those can come in handy when grocery shopping. If you’re going outside for a supply run, make sure you follow these steps when using a face mask while out buying groceries:
- Wash your hands before you wear your mask
- Make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask
- Do not touch your mask. If you do, clean your hands with either soap and water or alcohol-based cleaners
- When you’re done, remove the mask by unclipping the ear loop from your ears; never touch the front side
- Dispose the used mask properly—and more important, never reuse single-use masks
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- If you’re using cloth masks, treat them as clothes and disinfect them immediately
2. Accessorize for maximum coverage
If you’re wearing other facial and head accessories, make sure to never remove them while outside. Although COVID-19 can persist in fabric for a short time, it pays to be on the safe side. It may be a tad uncomfortable, but try to endure it until you can go back to your home to disinfect.
Don’t have reading glasses? You can use other substitutes like sunglasses, goggles, or even welding glasses. Be creative.
3. Wear protective clothing
Don’t take your chances even with the way you dress up. If you’re going outside, make sure your skin is protected.
What you can do best is wear clothes that can cover your legs, arms, and other parts. It’s not hoodie season so maybe a rash guard will do. How about those old jogging pants you swore you would wear to the gym?
When you get back home from the grocery store, take them off and wash them as soon as possible. Use soap and bleach (provided that you read handling instructions for your clothes) to disinfect.
4. Ditch canvas tote bags (for now)
On a regular day, we would strongly encourage the use of any kind of tote bags to minimize plastic consumption. However, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures—and your favorite tote bags aren’t spared from the COVID-19 situation.
For grocery shopping, you may want to avoid using canvas-based totes since they tend to accumulate moisture, making them easy breeding ground for all things nasty.
If possible, use resealable bags for your produce and bring nylon-based tote bags with you. Keep your products compartmentalized to avoid food contamination.
If bringing a canvas bag is unavoidable, disinfect it with bleach and soap when you get home.
5. Make a portable alcohol sprayer
Having an alcohol with you at all times can lower your risk of contracting the coronavirus. However, alcohol bottles aren’t really portable and there is another way to maximize your bottle for outdoor use.
Enter the atomizer.
If you have old perfume bottles that are reusable, sterilize them and refill them with alcohol. Instead of directly pouring them in your hands, you can save tons by merely spraying your hands with the right amount. In addition, it makes your alcohol portable and you can clean your hands at any given time.
6. Go cashless
In one of our previous articles, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that it may be possible for banknotes to transmit the coronavirus. That doesn’t mean you should burn your money or invest in sterilizing ultraviolet lamps. The safest thing to do is go cashless.
There are many ways to enjoy contactless payment: You can use mobile wallets, credit/debit card transactions, grocery delivery services, among others. The biggest groceries in the country allow payment through credit or debit card so you’ll be fine.
For places that still rely heavily on cash, such as wet markets and flea markets, the best protection you can give to yourself is to wash your hands and/or using alcohol after handling money.
7. Create a ‘disinfecting welcome mat’
You know those fabric mats you’ve been using for quite some time now? It’s time to retire them in exchange of a nylon mesh mat. But it doesn’t stop there: You need to turn those mats into cleaning agents to lower your risk of COVID-19 infection.
To make a disinfecting mat:
- Get a container where that can fit your nylon mat.
- Pour soap, some water, and bleach.
- Step on it several times until the mixture is agitated and there is bubble formation.
You can use this to disinfect your shoes or slippers before you enter your house.
Nothing says “welcome home” like your feet smelling clean before you enter the house.
…or just leave your shoes outside
According to the Medical City, it has been discovered that the coronavirus can survive for up to nine hours on shoes and pavements. They advise using only one pair of shoes for outdoor use.
8. Take a bath immediately
Alcohol is not enough. Go straight to the bathroom, take a thorough bath, and don’t touch anything until you’re squeaky clean. Use fresh towels and avoid using ones that are exposed outside.
9. Practice proper social distancing outside
The main way for COVID-19 to spread is through contact with respiratory droplets through coughing and sneezing. The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that these infectious droplets can travel up to six feet (or almost two meters if you can’t think in imperial measurements).
This is why experts recommend social distancing. Part of the social distancing guidelines is that you want to create a radius big enough where respiratory droplets cannot reach you.
If you’re going out to the grocery, avoid crowded areas and give others around you enough space. Do not touch people (no matter your relationship with them) and keep a certain distance when engaging socially. If someone’s trying to get close to you, call them out.
When lining up at groceries, give yourself at least one meter each, both in front and behind you. Think of the distance between you and the next shopper should be as big as a large supermarket cart—and some more.
10. Avoid touching surfaces
Now this is pretty self-explanatory. But if you can’t help but try to feel fruits or the cold metal handrails, here’s a nifty tip: Put your hands in your pockets and only take them out when you need to carry something. And if you touch something, use your alcohol spray as soon as possible.