Grocery Shopping Precautions during COVID-19 Pandemic

Surgical gloves? Sanitizer? What else?

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COVID-19 has basically taught us to be extra careful and emphasise on our basic hygiene habits. While research on the newfound virus is still ongoing and in pursuit to find its vaccine, we can be certain that it mostly spread through contact with infected people – especially when they sneeze or cough. The virus could also sit on surfaces or objects and further infect a person when they touch their eyes, nose or mouth.

Hence, the Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced to ensure limited human to human contact so the spread could be minimised and be curbed quickly.

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Getting take-out food and delivery are so far safe as research shows that while the virus could stay on the surface for days but it was tested in a laboratory where the condition is unfounded in daily settings (temperature, weather, air and etc).

Ever since the MCO, grocery shopping was limited to only one person per family to limit crowd and infection. But what are the safety measures to take? Here are some suggestions.

 

Before Going Out:

Have a list prepared

The list is important to help you focused on purchasing the stuffs that you need. The less time you spend outside, the lesser the risk for you to get in contact with other people.

Once a week is ideal

As going out is already a heightened risk so going out less would be better. Plan what you need to buy that would be enough for a week or even two. Remember: there are enough supplies for everyone so buy what you need only on your weekly grocery shopping.

Bring your own bag

Let’s kill two birds with one stone – keeping yourself safe with less risk of bringing home plastic bags from supermarkets and you save the environment too.

Choose your time to shop

Pick less busy hours like in the morning or afternoon (between 8am – 6pm) to shop as the stores are to be closed by 8pm. Lesser the people, the better it is for all. Do adhere to the time that is allocated for senior citizens to shop, so do not go during that time. The senior citizens are much more prone to get affected by the virus so please spare that time for them to shop at ease.

Wear a mask, bring sanitiser

Wearing a mask would decrease the risk of getting infected through human contact like talking or when the person may be unwell. This is unavoidable, as you are out and about and will be talking to the staffs, cashiers, guards and other patrons. Although most supermarkets provides sanitisers for you to use, but it would be handy to have your own after you have touched a lot of communal things.

If you are sick, please consider ordering your grocery’s online. There are many options being provided by the supermarkets near you.

There is a debate on wearing gloves. In between, having a barrier from direct touch but there are also concerns on the virus to transfer from the gloves to other things that we’re touching while wearing it. Empty hands are best as it’s easier to sanitise as you go. There is that need to dispose of the gloves properly too and the need to use less single-use items, for environmental care reasons.

It is up to you! Just remember to be careful with the options that you take.

 

While Outside, Grocery Shopping:

Social Distancing – 1 or 2 metres away from people

Keep a distance from people. Since COVID-19 is proven to be carried by asymptomatic people, we will never know who has it with them. This means no friendly gestures like handshakes, and ensure you have minimal human to human contact – no matter how friendly you are as a person. Health comes first!

Leave the items you don’t intend to buy alone

Sometimes we just want to observe and not really buy, leave those for viewing only. Unless those are going into your cart or basket, do not, by all means, touch it. We don’t know what we have transferred to us while we are out shopping so help the next person that is buying that item you just held to stay clean as well.

Wiser To Go Cashless

The exchange of physical currency and for us to bring home the things that have travelled from heaven knows where, has its own risks. While it is unlikely for the virus to stay for long, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Go cashless instead and use debit or credit cards, scan from your mobile or anything as long as it is contactless.

Clean the cart/basket after use

In the spirit of #KitaJagaKita (taking care of each other), let’s keep each other safe and help the next person to use the cart or basket stay safe too. Wipe them with sanitiser that you have in hand or with sanitation wipes that may come in handy.

The Public Health of Malaysia came up with 5 Tips to follow after you have bought some food or grocery

After grocery shopping:

 Do not touch anyone at home

Before you get yourself cleaned from the outside’s elements, remember to not get in touch with anyone at home yet. Especially the much vulnerable ones – children and the elderly.

Dispose the mask you wore

Take off your mask and put it separately in a specific plastic bag before tossing it in the trash. I suggest separating your trash while you’re doing this, a perfect time to start this habit.

Wash your hands

Wash your hands for 20 seconds before you unpack and store your grocery. Do it alone, don’t let anyone touch the grocery until you wipe the surfaces of them clean. If there are perishable items, wash them for 20 seconds with water and salt. After you’re done, wash your hands again.

Put all your clothes you’ve worn outside into the laundry & shower

Immediately, it’s a separate laundry for the grocery outing day. Remove all your clothes in the bathroom, dump them in a pail filled with detergent and water or a basket, before you bring them to the washing machine.

Take a shower. Change into fresh set of clothes.

If you are opting for the basket, after putting your clothes into the washing machine, remember to sanitise the basket.

Now you are free to meet and get in contact with your family – although social distancing in between household members are actually much better during this time of uncertainty. Again, it’s an option.

What changes have you adopted during this pandemic to stay keep safe? Share your tips with us too.

 

 

**The facts and views expressed are solely that of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect that of the editorial board

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