As the countries around the world are reopening, the number of people in public spaces has also increased. During the lockdown, fewer people made trips outdoors even for buying essential groceries. However, many stores now have crowds of people which can make grocery shopping in coronavirus crisis and making a trip riskier than before.
Therefore, it is essential that people follow preventive measures more strictly than before while going out for grocery shopping or for any activity in general. In case a person brings back any household items, it is mandatory to disinfect them before usage.
According to research present on coronavirus, the SARS-CoV-2 can survive on inanimate surfaces for up to seventy-two hours. So, any grocery item could have the virus on it which can spread to kitchen counters or other surfaces in the house.
How can the virus reach the items in the first place? Many products and beverages on the shelves of stores have been picked and touched by many people. In addition, handlers and managers in the stores are likely to move items around for multiple purposes.
An infected person is likely to pass the virus just by merely touching a surface. Others can also cough and sneeze while holding an item, which releases particles with the virus. These particles can settle down on the item or anywhere on the shelf.
Certain surfaces, such as those made out of plastic and stainless steel, are far riskier than others. Anything that comes in plastic or steel packaging is therefore more likely to have the coronavirus on it.
The good news is that the risk of contracting the virus can still be cut down by following a few preventive measures. Always remember the chances of catching the infection are highest in the grocery store.
So, before leaving, do not forget to wear a mask and carry a hand sanitizer. In the store, make sure to maintain social distance and do not touch items unnecessarily.
After buying groceries and returning home, make sure to wash hands. Do not touch any other surface as well as any part of the face while handling the different items. If there is a risk of contamination in the items, wash the cans of food or any items before storage. A wipe can also be used.
For items or beverages with disposable packaging, it is best to discard the packaging. In the case of fruits and vegetables, make sure to wash them properly for at least 20 seconds before storing and cooking.
However, using soap directly on fruits, vegetables, and other edible items is not recommended by the FDA. If doing so, make sure to wash them thoroughly so that no soap remains.
After the groceries have been handled, any counters, tables, and surfaces used for placing or touched while handling them should be disinfected. Make sure to wash hands again after following all of these steps.
Read CDC’s guide to disinfecting homes here.
Alternative steps for reducing the risk of coronavirus infection can be just leaving the groceries on the porch or a suitable place for at least three days or seventy-two hours. This can only be done when there are no items that need to be refrigerated or kept inside to keep from going bad.
Following these simple preventive measures can help in reducing the risk of contracting the virus while going out for grocery shopping in the coronavirus pandemic.