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Grocery Shopping During the Pandemic: Here's How to Protect Yourself and Your Family

03-26-2020
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As Americans hunker down at home, many will have to venture out at some point to stock up on food. So how can you protect yourself while shopping and after you get home?

If you live in a place where you can have your groceries delivered, that's a great option because it keeps you away from other people in the store who could be carrying COVID-19. However, plan ahead because many delivery services are slammed, and of course, not everyone has that ability.

So, if, or more likely, when you venture out to the store James Rogers with Consumer Reports suggests going early. 

"We also say bring your own disinfectant wipes," Rogers said. 

  • Sanitize the handle of your cart before taking off down any aisles.
  • Stay six feet away from other shoppers, even if it means waiting a few seconds longer to grab your pack of toilet paper. 
  • Avoid touching your face while you shop.
  • Experts say there's no need to wear a mask unless you're sick or caring for someone who's sick.

If you decide to wear gloves be sure to take them off without contaminating yourself, then wash your hands for good measure.

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And what about bags?

There's growing concern reusable bags contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Several states have already banned them in an effort to stop the virus.

However, there is some good news about the items you're placing in your cart.

"Right now we don't have any clear data that it's living on packages for a prolonged period of time," says Dr. Simone Wildes, an infectious disease specialist.

There's no evidence yet that coronavirus can be transmitted via food. So once you get your groceries home experts recommend washing your fruits and vegetables as you normally would under warm water. You can also use white vinegar or lemon juice. Items with firm rinds like melons or skins like potatoes can be scrubbed with a brush. 

Glass or canned goods can be rinsed under warm water.

Once you put your groceries away throw away your bags and clean your countertops with an antimicrobial disinfectant.

And remember, the greatest risk while grocery shopping is exposure to people who may have the virus which is why social distancing remains so important.

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