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COVID-19: Precautionary measures to follow while grocery shopping & ordering in

COVID-19 grocery shopping

While the state authorities are doing their best to ensure food, and other supply chains are running smoothly, citizens have to be equally responsible in making sure precautionary measures set by authorities are followed in the wake of COVID-19. Whether personally stepping out or ordering food and groceries online, one must follow a strict set of guidelines on safety and hygiene to prevent the onset of infection. While Social Distancing continues to be the need of the hour, citizens must make an informed choice in an attempt to meet their basic needs.

Stepping out or ordering in, both put you at risk of contracting the Coronavirus; it is imperative for one to respect and follow the timings set by authorities as well to protect yourself and others. Here are a few tips:

STEPPING OUT FOR GROCERIES:

– For those with respiratory issues, it is not advisable to step out, a healthier family member should be given the task

– Before stepping out, designate a clean and disinfected area to place your items on return; similarly make sure you have a disposal bag in place

– When outdoors to shop for your groceries, wear a mask at all times, avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose

– While at a store, maintain at least a 3 meter distance from other people. If possible, use napkins or wet-wipes to sanitize the handles of the shopping trolleys or carts before you begin shopping; wearing gloves is a good option too

– It is advisable that before stepping out, make a list of your items to commit to what you have to buy

– Avoid use of cellphone when out shopping, touching other surfaces and then the phone can transmit the virus

– Avoid removing items and stacking them back, pick only those items that you need to buy

– On returning home, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and after, repeat hand washing after handling and storing your purchased products

– Discard all possible packaging, remove all items like vegetables and fruits and store in clean and sanitized containers; for packaged items, wipe the outside with a sanitized wet towel

– It is recommended to was the fruits and vegetables for at least 20 seconds

– Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly after touching any frequently-touched surface or objects, including coins, elevator buttons, shopping cart handles, door knobs, switches, etc. Respiratory droplets expelled from an infected person can contaminate and persist on surfaces

ORDERING AT HOME:

– COVID-19 is believed to survive on surfaces for up to 12 hours, hence cleaning of cooking areas, cutting boards, counter tops, packaging & pick-up desks and disinfecting kitchen tools is a must

– Wearing gloves, washing hands and wearing masks helps protect those who cook and those who deliver items

– Avoid ordering salads or uncooked meals

– Preferably, ask the delivery person to deliver the packed food outside the door or near the security counter

– After picking up the parcel, wash your hands and then transfer the food to a separate container. Dispose the empty parcel and clean the area where the parcel was placed, and then wash your hands again before consuming the products or food

– Cashless payment is always preferred

(The author is Dr Anita Mathew, Senior Consultant, Physician & Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund. Views expressed are a personal opinion.)

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