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Buying Groceries Safely During COVID-19

The Novel Coronavirus continues to impact everyday life and it’s important to think about how to buy groceries in the safest and smartest way possible. You still need to eat after all! There are a lot of easy-to-implement habits for while you’re out shopping and once you’re back unloading the car that can help keep you and those around you healthy.

Grocery Shopping Habits during Coronavirus Pandemic

It’s important to remember that CDC (Centers for Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization) as well as state/county recommendations are updated daily and that the following information should not serve as a stand-in for official guidance.

Having said that, we hope this demystifies some misconceptions and helps you build safer habits!

While You’re Still at Home

Ok, so you’ve done the best you can by eating down to the far reaches of your pantry. Job well done! Now is not the time to stress about heading out to stock up on groceries, instead you’ll want to make a smart plan to minimize any potential contact with the virus.

You’ve likely heard the CDC’s recommendation that people wear cloth face coverings when they leave home to go shopping. It’s now known that the “virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms,” says the CDC. Using some kind of cloth barrier can help limit your exposure and is also a great way to prevent yourself from touching your nose and eyes, which should be avoided with uncleaned hands.

It’s really important that we keep the all-famous N-95 masks for those working directly with COVID-patients. Instead, show your solidarity with local front-line medical workers by proudly making your own mask or buying one online. The New York Times also created free mask-making instructions that don’t require a sewing machine and use supplies from around the house. (And don’t forget, when you take off your mask make sure you sanitize your hands and, if possible & appropriate, wash your mask.)

COVID-19 Grocery Shopping Tips

Also while still at home in a corona-free environment, put together a grocery list that can last you 2–3 weeks. Remember that the fewer trips you make out the better, so consolidate your lists into as few stores as possible. And if you’re in a high-risk demographic, see if friends, family or neighbors can go shopping for you instead. Some retailers are also offering "senior shopping hours."

While You’re Out Shopping

As you leave your car, take a moment to put on your face mask. Although there have been no documented examples of the virus being transmitted via reusable bags, be aware that many retailers are now separating customers who want to use reusable bags. And the virus has been shown to stick to latex gloves just like it can to your unprotected hands, so it’s more important to bring some hand sanitizer and use your store's provided paper towel and sanitizing spray to wipe down your cart.

While you’re walking around inside, make sure to maintain 6 feet from any other person. Most grocery stores now have floor markings to help you maintain distance from other customers and some have even implemented so-called "one-way aisles." Also, please be mindful to only touch what you plan to buy.

When you get back to your car and store away your groceries, make sure to sterilize your hands before getting into the driver's seat.

Once You Get Home

First and foremost, head to your kitchen and wash your hands with soap and water for no less than 20 seconds. Next, designate a portion of your counter for placing your groceries down on before they’re ready to get put away. You can use blue painter's tape to put a line down on your counter so it’s super clear to anyone in your household.

Since the virus degrades on most surfaces in a matter of hours, the CDC has not recommended wiping down boxes and cans but you will still want to rinse your produce. If it will make you feel better, feel free to wipe down cans and any boxes but remember that it’s not necessary 😉.

Disenfecting groceries during COVID-19 Pandemic

With either soap or disinfectant, take a moment to wipe down your reusable bags as well as any handles or surfaces your hands or your groceries have come into contact with.

Delivery and Pickup Options

As an alternative to having to physically go inside a grocery store there are a variety of online and "drive through" pickup options depending on where you live. There are many benefits when choosing one of these options including limiting the number of people you come into contact with and being able to "browse" products from the comfort (and safety!) of your own home. A few grocers are even discounting or offering pickup for free to encourage use of the service.

In Conclusion

As you plan your next trip to the grocery store, just remember to use common sense. Your goal should be to keep your hands clean, your face covered and maintain six feet from other people. Remember that we're all in this together and most people are taking the right steps to protect themselves and those they come into contact with.

As you leave your local grocery store also take a minute to thank any staff members you encounter as they too are front-line workers helping keep our communities fed in these trying times.

For additional information and our sources, check out the following organizations:

Want more advice about all things home — including homebuying or selling advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a Ready Report that will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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Ready To Become A Smarter Homebuyer?

By signing up, you agree to Nestiny terms of use .
Whether you need a step-by-step guide, video resource or one of our many helpful tools, Nestiny has your back 24/7 for all things home buying and selling. You choose the pace, material, and when and where to learn. Unlock your free access to Nestiny today!
Are you a real estate professional? Go here .
By clicking this button, you'll enjoy free unlimited access to Nestiny and agree to our terms of use . And don't worry! Nestiny will not share your information with any parties without your consent.