Before you head to the grocery store, there are a few things you can do to make your shopping experience better. These are our top tips we have learned:
If you are worried about crowded stores, there are times of the day that stores are less busy, typically early in the morning. Avoid after school hours and weekends. That is when stores are busiest.
Shop solo when you can. Fewer people means fewer distractions. And fewer distractions means less time in the store. It also means fewer people possibly exposed to the virus, which keeps everyone in your household safer.
Having a grocery list will make your trip go faster and make sure you are able to get the items you need for your pantry.
Be sure to bring your face covering and gloves with you to the store. We have an entire page dedicated to how to make your own face coverings.
When you enter the store the first thing you want to do is disinfect your cart. This should be done with a disinfecting wipe.
Some stores are allowing only a certain number of people inside at a time; but even if your store is not doing this, it is important to practice physical distancing from other customers.
Be patient, and give others their space. If someone else is in front of the product you want, wait for them to leave, and make sure you are staying 6 feet away from others. For a visual reference, 6 feet is about the distance of 2 grocery carts. Please be sure to allow this spacing between you and others, including store employees that are stocking shelves.
Please remember that the people working in the store are working long hours to make sure you are getting everything you need for your home. Grocery retailers are working around the clock with current suppliers to ensure consumer demands are met at an unusually high rate. In addition, they have been creative at sourcing additional product from non-traditional suppliers to ensure the shelves are stocked as quickly as possible. You can do your part to help by utilizing your normal shopping habits and not stockpiling. This will ensure that prices stay low.
When you get to the check out lane, we recommend you use your credit card or mobile pay, if the retailer has the capability. Put your credit card in a pocket or somewhere that is easily accessible so that you do not have to search in your purse and touch other items.
Plastic bags are by far the safest and cleanest way to transport your groceries. However, we know that consumers love to "go green" and want to use their reusable bags. Some retailers have suspended the use of reusable bags. If customers bring these bags in a store, they are asked to bag their own groceries to prevent cross contamination. If you are using a reusable bag please remember to laundry it after every use to properly to keep it from spreading germs.
Once you have left the store, your groceries are in the car and your have returned your cart you can now remove your gloves, if you wore them during your shopping. There is a proper way to remove your gloves, according to the CDC and the Alabama Public Health. Below is the guidance from Alabama Public Health on Proper Glove Removal.
Once you have returned home you can now put your groceries away. Wherever you designate in your house to unpack groceries, be sure to disinfect after your groceries have been put away and wash your hands when you are finished. Be sure if you wore a mask to the store, you removed the mask before you washed your hands and never touch your face with dirty hands.
Cooking your food to the proper temperature according to the USDA guidelines and washing your fruits and vegetables is essential at preventing foodborne illnesses. To learn more about this topic, please visit the Food Safety section of our website.
Watch this video to learn 12 Tips for grocery shopping during the pandemic from the FDA.
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