The pandemic is slowly turning into an endemic and that means we will have to keep our guards up longer than we ever thought.
Basic hygiene checks aside, face masks, sanitisers and social distancing are a part of our lives now. And it’s now more necessary than ever that we follow these rules to ensure our own safety and of our loved ones.
Even when the cases are low in Singapore, do not put your guard down when stepping out of the house. Be it for a get-together, a day out in the park or the standard grocery run, you need to follow all the necessary protocols.
A stocked up kitchen means fewer reasons to step out and better safety for you and the family in case things go awry once again. So, what used to be a basic task has now become a top priority.
Buying groceries isn’t just prancing our way into the store anymore. It’s about planning and minimising risks. It’s now essential to map out areas we think would be less populated, visit certain aisles first and hit the cashier at specific times to avoid long queues, and practise safety tips to get us in and out as quickly and as safely as possible.
In fact, every Singaporean parent on the island should know how to grocery shop efficiently and safely and here’s how you can do so by following these seven things.
How To Grocery Shop Efficiently During Covid-19
1. Order online when possible, as much as possible
Try to shop online as much as possible. Photo: iStock
Online delivery services are very much the norm today and do help ease your life in more ways than you can imagine. However, you do have to spend quality time selecting and ordering the stuff you need. And this is easier said than done.
Don’t stick to just one app and one service. Switch between services and keep checking up on available slots while keeping your online cart loaded. You might be able to find one that delivers to you within the week or earlier.
Try out new shops and don’t limit yourselves to the major chain stores that everyone will be patronising.
Try out Indian grocers, fresh fish stalls, and wet-market meat stalls that deliver for free. Join Facebook or other groups of social media that are specific to the area you live in. There will definitely be recommendations for local grocers that deliver.
Contact-less delivery is a great option as it helps us practice social distancing. It is a means to get your essentials delivered to you without having to venture outdoors.
2. Avoid peak-hours
The best time to visit a grocery store or a supermarket is when others aren’t. That allows you to explore a little, look for some deals and not have your spidey sense tingling every other second when someone comes too close.
If you can, try to visit the store early in the day or during office hours. The odd times actually help avoid people altogether as opposed to the weekends and after-office hours. You can also try out 24-hour stores when you think people would most likely be sleeping.
Apart from having the whole grocery store to yourself, you also empty billing counters. That will not only make your visit peaceful but shorter too.
Bring your own Wipes and Sanitiser.
Bring disinfectant wipes to rub down the shopping troller hand-bars. At the same time, bring your sanitiser along to regularly clean your hands.
How to grocery shop efficiently and safely: sanitise regularly after touching shopping trolley or basket handles. Photo: iStock
4. Disinfect credit card and wallet after you use
Wipe your credit card with disinfectant wipes after use.
Be careful to not place your wallet, phones, keys or personal items on the counter, in the trolley or in the basket, when not in use.
If you do end up doing so, make sure to give them a good rub-down with disinfectant wipes or sanitiser afterwards.
5. Wear masks, practice social distancing
Wear masks if you are sick and practise social distancing while queueing up and waiting in line. Please make sure to keep your mask up while examining produce or other items on shelves. Singapore guidelines state that businesses and patrols must follow limiting to no more than one person in 16 sq. mt. of usable space. People also need to stand at least one metre apart in queues.
If you do choose to wear gloves, take additional care when removing them off and dispose of them carefully. Experts suggest that it might be safer to just use hand sanitiser instead of gloves.
Practice social distancing while waiting in line at the grocery store. Photo: iStock
6. Clean groceries and wipe down surfaces
Upon reaching home, clean your groceries by washing fresh fruits and vegetables, and wiping down the boxes and containers.
Dr Simone Wildes, an infectious disease specialist in the US, suggests there isn’t much proof that the coronavirus pathogens live on surfaces for an extended period of time.
“Right now, we don’t have any clear data that [COVID-19 is] living on packages for a prolonged period of time.”
However, as most of the COVID-19 studies that have been coming out since the beginning of this pandemic is ever-evolving and seem to differ in opinion, it would be best “to throw the disposable bags away in your recycling bin, wipe down the counter and wash your hands just to be safe.”
7. Don’t fall for temptation
The design of supermarkets and grocery stores aims for you to purchase more and shop more. While that would’ve been okay under regular circumstances, the idea today is to keep the time you spend there to a minimum. And for that, make sure to resist the temptation at the store, especially for things you don’t need.
It’s easy to venture into isles just to check out things that you “may” need. However, planning your trip and drawing up a list helps you spend your grocery hour wisely.
You might also stick to your budget in the process and save a lot of money.
Have we left out any tips on how to grocery shop efficiently and safely during COVID-19? Do let us know in the comments!
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