How to step out for essentials during the lockdown and after it is lifted
Here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for essential in the foreseeable future.
Most of us haven’t lived through a lockdown before - forget one that will last over a month. Given the spread of COVID-19 in India, many public health experts feel the extension of the lockdown is in all of our best interests.
That said, it’s been over three weeks; and if you haven’t already, you may need to step out to replenish your essentials now. Whether you only need to go across the road or a mile away, the risks remain pretty much the same - from coming in contact with someone who has the virus to picking up items that may have been contaminated.
It’s best to take all the precautions you can when you’re stepping out to buy your groceries. Even once the lockdown ends in your area, you must continue taking these precautions - easing of restrictions does not mean that the risk of getting infected is gone. Here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for essential in the foreseeable future:
1. Before you go out
- Wash your hands with soap and water for a minute.
- Then wear a clean face cover. Ensure that there aren’t any gaps between the cover and your skin and that it fits perfectly. Face masks and covers provide a barrier for your nose and mouth and also help you avoid touching your face with your hands.
- Wear a pair of gloves if you have them. Given that it is getting hot, you could also carry them with you and put them on before entering the store.
- Carry your own bag for groceries - and keep a sanitizer and tissues on you at all times.
2. When you’re out
- Maintain distance when you’re in the store. If the store is too crowded, wait outside until some people leave.
- Be mindful of senior citizens - allow them to go in before you or offer to pick up their things while you get yours.
- Only touch what you intend to buy and encourage others to do the same as much as possible. This helps reduce the spread of the virus as well as other microbes.
- Pay online if possible, using a digital wallet or bank transfer. Using a credit/debit card or even cash would increase your contact with the staff.
3. After coming home
- Leave your shoes and bag at the door.
- Don’t touch anything before you take your gloves and mask off (dispose of or wash them as required) and wash your hands properly with soap.
- If you sat down anywhere or bumped into anyone by mistake, you could even opt for a shower or change of clothes - we aren’t yet sure if this is required, but it definitely doesn’t hurt.
- Wipe down all the packaged goods you bought with sanitizing wipe and wash the vegetable and fruits thoroughly with warm water before storing. Do not use bleach for washing the fresh produce - it could lead to food poisoning when you eventually eat it.
- If you used your keys and phone, make sure to sanitize them as well.
4. When dealing with deliveries
If you have the option to, you may want to get your goods delivered to you - especially if you’re part of the at-risk population. Here are some precautions to take with deliveries:
- Opt for contactless delivery - this means paying digitally and asking the delivery person to leave your groceries outside your door. You can leave a basket or a table outside if there isn’t a clean surface.
- If you have to go to your society’s gate to collect your things, take all the same precautions you would if you were going to the store.
- Wash the fresh produce the same way, under running water. And wipe down the packages with sanitizer. Wash your hands after this.
- Give a rating or tip when you can - being a delivery person is a high-risk and an essential job at this time and a little appreciation goes a long way.
For more information, read our article on How to wash fruits and vegetables during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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