Regardless if you shop in-store or have your groceries delivered, there are so many ways you can keep yourself and others safe from getting exposed to the coronavirus (COVID-19). And since most food businesses have been moving from dine-in to a delivery/takeout alternative, there are still safety tips and considerations you need to take note of.
Safety Precautions Before Grocery
Plan everything you need in advance
Try to lessen the number of trips you do at the grocery store by planning ahead. Think about all the things you need so you won’t forget something and go back to the store again. Always keep a continuous grocery list during the week so you can get everything you need when you go to the grocery store. If your schedule permits, you can choose to shop during non-peak hours.
Always wear your face mask
It’s important to wear a face mask in public places, especially at grocery stores where social distancing may be hard to maintain. It can be too risky not to wear a mask in enclosed settings with a crowd inside. And what’s even worse with the virus is that some people may be asymptomatic, not showing any visible symptoms but are infected. This is why it’s better to wear one as we are protecting each other from unawarely spreading the virus from person to person.
Disinfect the grocery cart you’re using
Always bring disinfectant wipes with you. You can use them to clean the grocery cart you’ll be using. And as a way of looking out for each other, you should wipe off the cart before returning it. Make sure to dispose of the wipes in a trash can and not left them somewhere.
Don’t touch your face and observe hand hygiene
It’s recommended that you buy a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol at the grocery store. Make sure to bring one with you and place it on top of your cart so you can always see and more likely to use it. And most importantly, try not to touch your eyes, mouth and nose!
Safety Precautions After Grocery
Wipe down surfaces in your car
High-touch surfaces in your car should be wiped after going to the grocery store. Make sure you wipe and clean your steering wheel and gear stick, or any parts in your car that you always touch with your hands. Doing these healthy habits will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Disinfect your groceries
Although the Food and Drug Administration still has no evidence if COVID-19 can be transmitted through food, food packaging, and food containers, they still recommend that we take extra precaution to clean our groceries since the virus can survive on different surfaces.
When it comes to nonporous items (canned goods or glass jars), you may use warm water and soap, then rinse them well in the sink. Another way to clean your groceries is by wiping them with a damp dishcloth and mild soap. For other fresh items, you can rub and rinse them with cool water as to how you would usually to remove pesticides. Doing these things will help remove other harmful bacteria and viruses.
Wipe your countertops
After placing the grocery items in your countertop, don’t forget to clean it off by using a dishcloth with soap and water. You can use the typical EPA-registered household disinfectant once you’re done placing away your groceries to disinfect your counters and sink.
Safety Precautions for Grocery or Food Delivery
If you don’t want to go out and you prefer to have your groceries and food delivered in your home, here are some ways you need to consider when keeping yourself and family safe:
Avoid direct contact
Observe social distancing always and thank the delivery driver from a distance. You can still show your gesture while doing social distancing. It’s also better to pay in advance through your phone and give tips electronically. You can ask the person to leave your item in a corner and get them after they’ve left.
Separate the food from the container
It’s best to practice that you put the food on a plate immediately instead of eating it in the container, then throw the container and bag away. Always wash your hands before eating and use your own utensils instead of the ones they’ve provided.
Reheat your food
If transferring the food to your own plate is still not enough, it’s a better idea to reheat the food to 165° F (74° C) if you have a microwave, or if not, in a stove or oven.
Sanitize the surface when picking up food
If you’re ordering food at a drive-thru, make sure to keep a sanitizer or alcohol in your car so you can disinfect the surfaces of the bag or food container.