Let us say to the Coronavirus: NO, NOT TODAY!
With COVID-19 cases here reach the 800 mark as of 29 March, it would be safe to assume that every Singaporean parent on the island is wondering how to grocery shop efficiently and safely to provide for their families and keep reasonably stocked up on essentials to get you through this trying period.
What used to be one of the most basic tasks, that we all took for granted and perhaps, secretly hated, has now become one of our top priorities: it is 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.
Shopping for groceries and essentials today is the equivalent of our ancestors going out of their caves and braving Sabertooth tigers and other scary predators to gather food for their family; only, now we cannot see the vicious predator targetting us, but yet it can see us. Due to this unfair advantage, it is imperative that we extra precautions to avoid being prey and be able to triumphantly say: NO, NOT TODAY!
How to grocery shop efficiently and safely during COVID-19
Order online when possible, as much as possible
This is easier said than done, but 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, and you might be able to find one that delivers to you within the week.
Try out new shops and don’t limit yourselves to the major chain stores that everyone is going to be patronizing.
Try out Indian grocers, try out fresh fish stalls, try out 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, and there will definitely be recommendations for local grocers that deliver.
Contact-less delivery is a great option as it helps us practice social distancing, and it is a means to get your essentials delivered to you without having to venture outdoors.
How to grocery shop efficiently and safely: Avoid peak-hours
Go to the shops early! And try to avoid weekends, and after-office hours.
If you can, try shopping at 24-hour stores when you think people would most likely be sleeping!
How to grocery shop efficiently and safely: BYOW/S
Bring your own Wipes and Sanitiser.
Bring disinfectant wipes to rub down the shopping troller hand-bars, and bring your sanitiser along to regularly clean your hands.
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.
Wear masks, practise social distancing
Wear masks if you are sick and practise social distancing while queueing up and waiting in line, or while examining produce or other items on shelves. In Singapore, there’s now strict guidelines businesses and patrols must follow including limiting to no more than 1 person is allowed per 16 sq m of usable space, and standing at least 1 m apart in queues.
If you do choose to wear gloves, take additional care when removing them off and dispose of them carefully. According to experts in a column published recently, it might be safer to just use hand sanitiser instead of gloves.
Clean groceries and wipe-down surfaces
Upon reaching home, clean your groceries by washing fresh fruit and vegetables, and wiping down the boxes and containers.
According to Dr Simone Wildes, an infectious disease specialist from the United States of America, 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,” Wildes stated.
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.”
Have we left out any tips on how to grocery shop efficiently and safely during COVID-19? Do let us know in the comments!