5 ways to social distance while shopping

by Tatiana Jackson

 

Recently I found myself in a dilemma. I had no choice but to venture out to the grocery store in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Trust me when I say, I searched every grocery delivery app, drive-thru and curb-side option before ultimately making this decision. I determined to take some measures to protect myself – and anyone I encountered – against exposure to the virus and take some of the angst out of the experience. Here are a few best practices for social distancing in a semi-social setting.

1. Relax
Going out for anything can cause anxiety in even the calmest individual. Our bodies can respond to stress in adverse ways. So , engage in some calming activity before and after you leave the store. This can be listening to your favorite song or a breathing exercise. It’s better to know beforehand how to best calm your nerves just in case. You start feeling antsy I prefer to chat with a family member or friend.

2. Plan
Make a list of what you need. Not a mental note, but a real list either written or on your phone. I suggest a written note because it can be tossed after the shopping trip, and you don’t have to worry about constantly touching your phone. Also, Check the store’s inventory before you go. Many stores are low on inventory, so by checking what’s available you’ll have an idea if that store is worth the run.

3. Prepare
Equip yourself with your own sanitary protections. Here’s a quick video on how to make a homemade mask: https://youtu.be/mai-UqdNRi8. Also, some stores provide sanitizer and wipes, but it’s a good idea to have your own on hand. . Wipe the basket handle and any other parts of the shopping cart you may touch during your visit. Properly dispose of your protective gear in the trash and whatever you do, DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE until you have thoroughly washed your hands for at least 20 seconds.

4. Personal Space
The CDC has suggested to stay at least six feet from other individuals if you must be in public. If you observe people congregating in front of displays, shelves and coolers in keep your distance and wait your turn. Give the person browsing space and time to select the item(s) they need, without reaching around or across. Many stores and pharmacies have placed markers on floors and counters to keep individuals apart during the check-out process, but make the six feet of separation a rule of thumb throughout your shopping trip.

5. Keep it Clean
White House coronavirus task force member and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci emphasizes there is no need to “get completely obsessed about packages that come in.” The infectious disease expert explains, “[On] those types of surfaces, the virus might live there for a very short time. I wouldn’t worry about that. It’s more [about] the close things, the hand washing.” However, if you feel the need to sanitize your groceries, do so with care. Ingesting harmful chemicals is also hazardous. Be sure to wash your hands after handling groceries and before and after preparing meals.

Staying healthy is our number one goal as a community. For the more information on COVID-19 check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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