Shopping During a Pandemic

By Andrea Pader

Illustration of two women shopping and w

Photo: BayCare

Shop with the intent to keep yourself safe and those around you.

Because of the current pandemic, going out has been limited. Recently, a curfew was set in California due to the rising numbers of positive cases. Anyone out of their homes past 10:00 PM is subject to a fine, although going out between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm is allowed. Because of this, many people are going out during the day, continuing to shop, especially due to the holidays coming up. But the question we must ask: Is this safe?

Since Covid-19 is a highly contagious virus, it is safest to stay at home. In the scenario where one must go out to go shopping, there are ways to reduce risk. This includes the basics like wearing a mask and washing one’s hands repetitively. It is a good idea to always carry a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, also known as ethanol or ethyl alcohol sanitizers, in the event of a sink not being readily available. 

It is good to note that because of the holidays, stores may be more packed than the usual pandemic shopping days. To combat this, one can go to the store during non-rush hours, for example, an early morning trip or late night (within the curfew of course). A good plan is to have your shopping list planned before you enter the store to keep your shopping trip as short and efficient as possible, as the longer one may linger in a store is a higher chance to contact the virus and be exposed to more and more people affected by COVID-19. 

When going shopping, it is also important to limit the number of people who shop with you. By going shopping with another person, not only do you risk your social bubble, but everyone else’s shopping because more bodies mean more spread. 

Finally, when coming back home with all the goods, it is important that you wash your hands right away to avoid accidentally touching one’s face. As soon as one’s hands are clean, it is drastically safer to continue on with the day. For extra measures, you can take off your shoes before entering the house, sanitize your new belongings, for example, washing your new clothes with a sanitizing wash, steaming new furniture, and wiping down new surfaces purchased during the shopping spree. And finally, to end the shopping experience during a pandemic is to wash your mask. 

Even with all the precautions and safety measures to prevent COVID-19, it is still not as effective as shopping online, so staying at home is the best option. But if you must, follow all the precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe.