Though you’ve tried your best at social distancing in all aspects of your life, you find, like most people, that you need to grocery shop during the Covid-19 pandemic. But how do you do this safely in the middle of a pandemic? This article offers tips and tricks to keep you and your family safe, while also minimizing the potential spread of the disease, thus protecting others.
1. Before grocery shopping, commit to what you plan to buy.
Whatever you touch could have been exposed to Covid-19 from a past person touching it. Whatever you touch and put back potentially exposes another person to Covid-19 without you knowing it. Deciding ahead of time what you want to purchase protects you and others. (Also, before you touch the grocery cart, wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe. Some stores are already doing this, but it’s best to be safe.)
2. Do not go to the store if you have respiratory symptoms to prevent the potential spread of illness. If you have other health issues you should also stay home, as you may be more susceptible to infection.
Use a grocery delivery service instead – or order online for curbside pickup.
3. Minimize your time grocery shopping by trying to buy two weeks of groceries at once.
4. If you don’t absolutely need the groceries you purchased that day, or they don’t need to be put in the freezer or refrigerator immediately, leave them on your porch or in your garage for three days.
This allows some time for the virus to die.
5. Once you’re home, sanitize the counter surface you plan to put the groceries on and divide it into 2 sections: the “clean” side, and the “needs to be cleaned” side.
All groceries should start on the “needs to be cleaned” side. Wipe down any plastics you’ve purchased with a disinfectant agent. Get rid of any unnecessary external packaging (e.g. the cardboard box around the plastic cereal bag).
6. Sanitize or repackage any packaged items that may have been touched by human hands.
If the item you purchased needs to remain in its packaging, and the packaging is relatively sturdy, wipe it down thoroughly with a disinfectant rag or wipe. Move items that do not need to be in their original packaging, such as bread, into a clean Tupperware container from your home.
7. Unpackaged items like fruit and vegetables should be washed like you wash your hands.
Soak your produce in soapy water, and scrub for 20 seconds to kill Covid-19.
8. Past coronaviruses could survive frozen environments for up to 2 years, so microwave your frozen food to decontaminate it.
This is the best way to make sure it’s safe to eat.
9. Take-out food requires precautions as well.
Coronaviruses do not historically live long on food, but can live on take-out wrappers. Wash your hands before handling take-out food, then dump food on a clean plate without touching the food or having the wrappings touch the plate. Wash your hands again before consuming.
10. When in doubt, choose hot food.
Warm take-out food is likely to be safer from Covid-19 than cold take-out food at this time. Remember that heating food inthe microwave or on the stovetop can help.
Also remember to practice safe social distancing according to the CDC, remaining at least 6 feet apart from other people as much as possible.
Hopefully these tips help you have safe and tasty meals at home! Stay safe and healthy!