Grocery shopping has become a daunting endeavor during the coronavirus pandemic, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and others, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.
Prepare a shopping list in advance and buy just one to two weeks' worth of groceries at a time. Buying more than you need can create temporary shortages, the FDA said in a news release.
Wear a face covering or mask while you're in the store. Some stores and localities may require it. Check your state, county or city guidelines for any other requirements.
Carry your own wipes, or use those provided by the store to wipe down the handles of the shopping cart or basket. If you use reusable shopping bags, ensure they are cleaned or washed before each use.
Practice social distancing while shopping, which means keeping at least 6 feet between you, other shoppers and store employees. Keep your hands away from your face.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds when you return home and again after you put away your groceries.
There is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of the coronavirus, the FDA said. But, if you wish to do so as an extra precaution, you can wipe down product packaging and allow it to air dry.
Grocery stores may temporarily run out of certain products, but there are no nationwide shortages of food, according to the agency, which noted that food production and manufacturing are spread across the nation.
During this pandemic, many grocery stores have modified their operating hours to allow them more time to restock shelves and clean. In addition, many stores are providing special hours for seniors or other high-risk people to shop, and are offering pick-up and delivery services. Check the store's website or call the store to learn more, the FDA advised.