5 tips to keep you safe when shopping locally during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on daily life in communities all over the country and globally.

As the impact of the virus has increased and country after country has gone into lockdown mode to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, simple everyday activities have become a minefield of dos and don’ts designed to keep us all safe.

One of the most important aspects of our lives that have been impacted is of course shopping and because of the restrictions on how far we can travel during the lockdown period, shopping has to be local.

Here are five tips to help keep you safe while you shop for essential food and medical supplies.

Stay two metres away from other customers and shop staff

I appreciate that this might seem obvious but social distancing is one of the most effective ways of keeping ourselves safe.

Keep a safe distance from other people on your journey to and from your local shops and especially when shopping. Be patient when you want to get produce from fridges and freezers so you can keep a safe distance from other shoppers.

When it’s time to pay, again keep your distance from checkout staff or better still use the self-service checkouts and where possible use contactless to pay. If you have to touch the keypad try and wash your hands or use sanitising gel as soon as possible.

Where possible, shop alone

A lot of supermarkets and local shops will no longer allow more than one person to shop, I’m sure if a mum with young children needed to shop they would be flexible but in general, they’ll only allow individuals.

By reducing the number of people going into shops it makes it easier to maintain the correct physical distance from other shoppers.

Only buy what you need

It is, of course, natural to want to restock the cupboards when we feel threatened by a situation that is completely out of our control, to be prepared for anything and able to withstand self-isolation no matter how long for.

However, panic buying or overly enthusiastic restocking causes shortages of food and medicines for people who might really need them. There have been reports of front-line NHS workers going to their local shops after finishing a long stressful shift and finding there is nothing for them to buy.

Also, hoarding perishable goods that you will be unlikely to consume will just result in unnecessary waste.

At a time like this, it is more important than ever to support your local shops and each other in your community. If you buy more than is necessary, you’ll deprive someone else of what they need. If we all shop sensibly, they’ll be more than enough for everyone and our communities will benefit.

Respect the shopping hours set aside for healthcare workers and the vulnerable

Shops and supermarkets in a bid to combat the problems of front-line staff and vulnerable shoppers not being able to buy the items they require have set aside certain hours which are exclusively for them to get what they need.

As vulnerable shoppers are more at risk if they become infected with Coronavirus, give them the time and space they need to get the essentials and plan your shopping for other times in the day.

By thinking about when you shop you’re making life easier for an older, vulnerable neighbour, your local community nurse or your GP. Believe me, they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration.

If you’re vulnerable try and use delivery services

During this period of lockdown while we try and get on top of Coronavirus infections if you can get a delivery slot to have your groceries delivered, especially if you are in one of the vulnerable categories, take it.

Your health and the health of those around you in your community is the most important thing. If you don’t fall into the vulnerable category and can safely go to your local shops, consider leaving the delivery slots for those people who are more at risk so we can avoid the NHS becoming overwhelmed with lots of really sick people.