How Not To Get Infected When Grocery Shopping

In times of exceptional procedures, social distance is the law, but it is not enough.

Here are some tips for you to go shopping safely, now that going to the supermarket is one of the few things allowed. First of all, it is important to remember that COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, not a stomach one. The danger of contagion is not in the consumption of food on supermarket shelves and displays, but in the fact that they may have been handled by someone infected on the way there.

You can ask yourself how many people will have touched the jar of jam or the bottle of carbonated water in the trough to put it in the shopping cart. However, hygiene and food safety rules, which were already recommended before the pandemic, must be strictly adhered to, because food products can carry other microorganisms that cause toxic infections. Among the precautions to be taken, we highlight washing the food that you will consume raw and cooking the rest properly. Do not add raw and cooked food to avoid cross-contamination. Do not share food, cutlery, plates, and glasses, among others. If food is left over, place it as soon as possible in the refrigerator, where it can be kept for up to three days. If you do not expect to consume within this period, freeze. The idea is, above all, not to waste.

At a time when you want a strong immune system to fight any threat, it is important to follow all rules and precautions to stay healthy, not least because health services are under pressure, with great difficulty (even more than usual) in giving the answer. This article guides you through safety measures to go grocery shopping during this outbreak.

Do You Feel Sick? Do Not Leave!

Experts advise that the first condition to go shopping is to be in good health since anyone can infect others without knowing it. And they don’t just refer to the coronavirus here!

Make Purchases in the Shortest Possible Time

Experts advise you to make a list of missing products in advance so as not to prolong your visit to the supermarket while thinking about what you need. Preferably take your own bag to collect your purchases since the cars and baskets available at the supermarket may not have been perfectly disinfected.

Procedures for Your Protection

Valid in all situations is the need to maintain a safety distance of at least 1.5 meters, as recommended by the World Health Organization. “You shouldn’t breathe on food and you shouldn’t place your hands on your face until you leave home and after the disinfection has been done upon your return.”, says Alvaro M. Aranda, prepper at When paying, try to do it without cash because it is an exceptional transmitter of microorganisms and the coronavirus survives up to four hours on the surface of coins.

Mask and Gloves

Pay attention to the procedures practiced in the stores where you do your shopping. If the establishment where you usually shop does not follow the prevention rules, go shopping elsewhere. As it is assumed that you are not sick when you go shopping, you do not need to wear a mask. So why do many shopkeepers use them? It is their decision, but it has the danger of giving a false sense of protection. The same could happen to you. You have the advantage of taking handkerchiefs soaked in disinfectant to pass through your hands when you finish shopping and on the car door handle, before entering it and if you have not been on foot.

Don’t Touch Your Face!

You can’t touch your face, scratch your nose, or rub your eyes until you’ve come home to wash and disinfect your hands. Think of the number of people who may have touched the product you just purchased.

Look for Automatic Options

Some establishments have doors that open automatically, taps, and automatic soap dishes or other equipment where hands are not required. Whenever possible, these are the best options for use, and not just at a time of the pandemic. Investing in these options can also be of great use in homes.

Be Careful with Your Phone

Nowadays, cell phones are always within reach. However, supporting them on shared tables or taking them to public restrooms is not the best option for the moment. The less you expose your smartphone, the less worry about cleaning it.

Use Your Own Shopping Bags

A few years ago, with the ban on the distribution of plastic bags on the market, people have already adopted reusable bags when shopping. This measure is much more important at the moment because it offers more control over what you will touch during transactions. Therefore, you can also stop using trolleys or baskets in some situations. This action can help to reduce the transmission of the virus.

Go Shopping Early

The disinfection of the facilities and the replacement of the stock on the shelves are done before the stores open so you will have an advantage if you go early. At this time, as there are different hours than usual, you should consult the times of the stores where you intend to shop so as not to knock your nose on the door unnecessarily.

Take Only What You Need

It is advisable to buy the same quantities, as usual, avoid hoarding too many products that are very likely to be spoiled by not being able to consume them on time. However, it is advisable to buy enough quantities so that you do not have to go back to shopping within a week. Opt for frozen products or longer-lasting dairy products. If you don’t find the loin or the duck you wanted, buy other proteins that are equally nutritious, like eggs or chicken. “If the products you are searching for are temporarily sold out when you go out, be sure that they will be replaced soon. There is no reason to believe that there is a shortage of food supplies”, says Daniel A. Tryon, writer at

Avoid Handling Money

Banknotes are already considered one of the dirtiest objects in existence, as they pass from hand to hand and, because they are made of paper, are difficult to clean. Therefore, it is increasingly recommended to use other payment methods, such as apps or cards. In addition, whenever possible, payment by approximation should be the option chosen, since there is no contact, avoiding further contamination.

After Shopping Is Finished

It is advisable to unwrap what you have bought, dispose of the packages, and wash your hands afterward. All foods that are to be cooked or boiled do not require special treatment, but fresh vegetables to be eaten raw must be washed with a disinfectant solution suitable for food.

Don’t Stress, Be Thankful!

There is every advantage to taking precautions, but there is no point in obsessing because there is no greater protection. Remember to have a word or gesture of sympathy for all the employees you met while shopping, remembering that they are many hours in a row in that environment so that we can all do our shopping on the go.

Care at Home: Soap and Water Eliminate the Coronavirus

When you get home, change your shoes and, if possible, remove the outer layer of clothing that may have been in contact with any contaminated surface or droplets and wash your hands. Pass a cloth with water and detergent on non-porous packagings, such as plastic, glass, and metal, before storing them. If the packaging is porous, transfer the food to a box or bag. Store the products in the refrigerator taking into account the temperature of each area and follow good freezing practices. Also, wash kitchen countertops and other surfaces with which you may have come in contact with water and detergent, as well as shopping bags.

Plan the menu and write down the ingredients needed for meals, including condiments. Make the shopping list, taking into account the size of the family, the space available in the pantry and the fridge, the expiration dates, and the way of preserving food, in order to minimize trips to the supermarket. Without a list, you risk spending more time in the corridors trying to remember what you are missing.

Do not include the excess of expendable products. When preparing the menu, take into account the principles of a balanced diet, based on the Food Wheel. Give preference to nutritionally rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to the detriment of those that contain sugar, fats, and excess salt, in general, more caloric. Include products that are preserved for longer periods. You can choose canned or frozen vegetables. Canned fish, such as tuna, mackerel and sardines, and eggs are also good solutions. In terms of fresh food, carrots, broccoli, green beans, leeks, and squash “last” longer. Apples, pears, and citrus fruits are particularly resistant fruits. Dried fruits, such as almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts, are good alternatives, for example, for mid-morning or afternoon. Keep these tips in mind when going shopping!

Written by

Beatrix Potter is a prepper and mainly writes about survival tactics and prevention measures. She’s a former nurse and decided her experience and knowledge would be best applied to divulging all she’s picked up over the years to other people. She has her own podcast on safety measures to maintain during this outbreak of COVID-19.

Latest comments
  • This is why the “preppers” stocked up on needed supplies. They were laughed at , ridiculed, and called nut jobs. Who’es laughing now?

    • The DOJ is laughing, because they know where to look first…

  • Before this crisis began it was already believed that the reusable bags were a substantial vector of contamination for salmonella and other bacteria. I won’t use them, but hey whatever makes you feel more in control in your life.

  • I need to find a prepper partner in Jax FL, northside. I have begun accumulating supplies but I am not physically able to do some tasks. I am left eyed and right handed so I can’t hunt or shoot animals for meat. I can fish, clean fish, cook fish but I am afraid of catfish touching! IF you know of anyone who might like a prepper partner…we would have like minds in that area! I need to decide on best solar generator but I can buy it. I have plans for a water creating set up and I can buy the parts but need a man or woman with some tools such as a power saw. I have a power drill. I have one bicycle. I have plenty of room to garden and even for a chicken coop, maybe more live animals. I hope someone knows someone who might be a good prepper partner. I am not bi-sexual. I am not saying we have to be a couple. A fit and able woman who is not looking for a bi partner would work okay but I would probably prefer a male if possible. Non smoker is essential. No indoor dog. I am not 420 friendly and don’t drink but a couple times a year if that.

    • If I lived in FL we could form a tribe, hope you find someone!

  • All of the extreme precautions listed above seem reasonable if, and I mean IF, you are in an urban setting or near an outbreak…or are in the vulnerable population. I live in a state that has a very low number of cases, hospitalization and deaths, ALL of which are concentrated in and around 3 cities. There have been exactly 5 cases in my county (since man first walked upright), all of which have recovered and been released from quarantine. I am more likely to be run over by a fleeing deer on my daily walks through the woods than I am to catch this virus. Also, my grocery store stopped allowing me to use my own bags, just in case I have Covid 19, and sneezed, coughed, or licked my bags before bringing them to the store! How about advice that is appropriate for areas OTHER than urban centers?!

  • You stand less of a chance catching COVID-19 than you do seasonal flu. Tens of millions catch the flu every year and more than 60,000 die from it in the U.S. every year.
    The younger you are, the less likely you would die from either flu or the virus. Not having a serious other health issue also reduces your chance of dying.
    Something is really wrong with the numbers. They shut down the country and there are only less than 2 million cases and (subtracting the “assumed” cause of deaths from the total they claim, amounts to around 48,000. No, not since January, but from more likely November. U.S. Intel had received a tip in October that there was a health connected crisis occurring in Red China. Travel wasn’t stopped until February 2nd and just between December and February 2nd, more than 700,000 people traveled to the U.S. from all over the world. In comparison, about 60 MILLION people catch the flu in the U.S. EVERY YEAR.

    Now, why are we shut down, locked down, told to wear masks and stay six feet apart?.

    • Hey Bob: I know a lot of people are hurting from the lock down. I also know this stuff is a helluva lot more contagious than the common flu. Heck we don’t ever get a flu shot, but I’ll be damned if I go anywhere near a populated area without PPE. Yes I do isolate from population, but being rural that’s not an issue, it’s part of the lifestyle. However, I do have to hit town every once in a while, …like tomorrow will be the first time since March 23. If nothing else, consider using a mask and distancing as just plain common respect for one another. Not getting political, I think we should have had a serious lock down, and I mean serious lock down long before any action was taken. Maybe that would have prevented our numbers from going through the roof and we could have got back on our feet much faster. Our state had some fore warning and was able to do this. We have 15,000 plus cases 500 some in the hospital and some 500 dead, not bad numbers. Why, we knew it was coming and got the hell out of the way. By the way our state is 700 miles long..The small town main streets were empty and outta stater s were not aloud in. One county totally quaranteened because the nearest hospital is two hours away any the county has a total of two ambulances. Now as far as the lock down and restrictions that were put in place, I feel my friend, you will soon get your answer, IF everyone thinks they can just run on back to the old way of doing things WITHOUT modifying ones routine. Take for example the case in South Korea, after their partial reopen, they have tracked at least eighty people showing positive, times multiplies by now, after ONE MAN went and partied at five night clubs in one evening, He’s affected the lives of those eighty people, plus the lives of those that they have come into contact with, which will include death to some. Now really ask yourself this PLEASE! How hard is it to have a little consideration for a friend ,neighbor, coworker,etc. to wear a silly little mask and give the person next to you a little space? This kind gesture could save a life,maybe even your own.

    • Only 1% of seasonal flu cases result in death. COVID-19 has a 3.4% death rate. That’s what makes it more dangerous Bob. If we weren’t shut down and the usual amount of people got infected…. do the math!

  • Thank you Beatrix for the great and informative article. Pantry is key start to all of this. If you have a pantry, great (expand it). If not, get one started now! If you have a spare bedroom, bathroom, or office, make your move now. Don’t bother buying fancy shelving (unless you have the capital – which you don’t because you should be using it to stock your pantry), Just go to your local hardware store and buy the lumber and screws (buy extra) needed to make some (measure your space first – find plans online). Once your pantry is stocked, you will have so many cans of one product. Say one row of cans(corn) in my pantry is stacked 3 high and 5 back (15 total). Next opportunity you need groceries, you’ll already know exactly what you are missing and need to restock. You aren’t hoarding.. You are prepared! The next time you are going in, you’ll only take what’s needed.

  • I just can’t go along with this nonsense, I refuse to live in fear.
    I’m going to live my life “the old normal”, y’all can be puppets and get your strings pulled, not me.

    • Is death nonsense? No one said to live in fear. All you have to do is practice good hygiene. Is “the old normal” for you- Not washing your hands, not shielding your mouth when you sneeze, breathing on others when you know that you might be sick, not washing your food before eating it etc…? We’re not “puppets getting our strings pulled”. The government has set standards for the population to follow because of people like you who selfishly think that they are above others. The virus itself isn’t the only problem. Part 2 is the ignorant people unnecessarily spreading it. Y’all are part of the reason rules were put in place. Stupidity kills!