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a single shopper stands at the end of an otherwise vacant grocery aisle

Avoid picking up something “extra” while grocery shopping

We all are doing our best to stay inside and limit our travel, in these trying times. But, might still find ourselves in need of a run for groceries. How do you protect yourself at the store?

Here are some general guidelines to follow when venturing out.

  • Think about using grocery delivery services or even store pickup. Shopping from home on your computer or mobile device is a much safer option. Store shoppers will leave your groceries at your front door to avoid direct contact. If you are in a higher-risk group, this method can be ideal. Check with the store services to see if they are offering grocery pickup at the curb.
  • As always, when leaving your home for any errand, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, following the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines! Ideally, you should wash your hands before leaving your home and then immediately upon your return.
  • Some stores are sanitizing the carts for us! This is a great practice, but, if the store where you are shopping doesn’t practice this, then take advantage of the store’s sanitizing wipes. Remember, other people will be using the wipes, as well. So, don’t hoard.
  • Again, following CDC guidelines, keep your hands away from your face as much as you can. And, practice social distancing, which means keeping a 6-foot gap (a little more than a cart’s length) from other shoppers.
  • Shop during the lower-traffic times. This will help you practice your social distancing. But, call your store ahead of time to find out if they have implemented new store hours and if they can suggest times for lower traffic.
  • Try to pay with a credit card or debit card. By using this method of payment, you are avoiding the spread of germs that can happen with cash and coins changing hands so often.
  • If you are using your reusable fabric bags for your grocery shopping, then wash them after each trip. Washing them in your machine with warm water is always good practice for preventing foodborne illnesses.
  • What about your produce? The CDC still recommends thoroughly rinsing our fresh fruits and vegetables under cold water.
  • Finally, you can always order from your local restaurants. Some are offering free delivery and you can opt for curb pickup. And, you will be helping our local businesses.

Remember, much of this is simply practicing the same basic food safety techniques when shopping that you use when preparing meals at home.

So, shop safely. Stay diligent. And, of course, wash your hands!

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