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April 14, 2020

How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus While Running Errands

Though many states have stay-at-home orders in place, grocery stores and other retailers remain open for errands and necessary food and supplies. You’ve been washing your hands, practicing social distancing and staying home when necessary, but if you need to leave the house to run errands there are a few extra steps you can take to stay safe and avoid the risk of exposure. 

Plan ahead

Now is not the time to browse. Make a list of what you need and where you’re going to go, then get in and get out. To further protect yourself, consider visiting stores during off-hours. Many retailers and grocery stores are offering specific hours dedicated to allowing older adults and others with special needs to shop. Here’s a list of supermarkets providing special hours. Be sure to check with your local retailers and businesses to see if they too are offering special hours. 

If the place you’re going to doesn’t offer special hours, it’s recommended you go as early in the morning as possible to avoid other people. 

Once you’re there

Before you begin your shopping, be sure to use the disinfecting products most stores have at the entrance to wipe down your cart or basket handles. While it’s wise to wipe down a cart or basket, it’s not necessary to do so to any products you purchase. You can fill your cart as you usually would, just be sure to avoid touching your face while you’re out. 

When you’re finished, be sure to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet while waiting in the checkout line. If you opt for a self-checkout, it’s important to remember that it’s no safer than going to a cashier. Yes, you avoid interacting with the cashier, but at a self-checkout, you’re in contact with more high-touch areas.

When you leave the store, it’s advised to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol before getting into your car.

When you’re back at home

As soon as you get in the door, wash your hands. Then, put your items away, and once you’re done, wash your hands again. It’s not necessary to do anything special to disinfect or clean your items, experts say. If you got produce, you can clean it with water as you normally would.

Package delivery

If someone is dropping off some essentials for you, it’s recommended they leave the items by your door. You want this to be as “touchless as possible.” If you are delivering items and need to go inside someone’s home — or if someone is delivering items and coming into your home — it’s recommended that you follow recommendations laid out for when you get back from the store — first, wash your hands, put items away and then wash again. You’ll also want to wipe down any door handles or anything the person coming into your home touches.

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