Coronavirus: how to stay safe when food shopping at the supermarket

Sophie Hamilton

One of the biggest worries for people right now in the UK is staying safe while doing our food shopping. We're all in lockdown to avoid catching coronavirus but we still need to get food supplies and with online delivery slots fully booked for weeks ahead, venturing out to the shop is a necessity. However, many of us are concerned at the possibility of contracting the virus at supermarkets – so how can we stay safe while we shop? Many stores have introduced new measures to help shoppers stay healthy. Here's what to do:

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Observe distancing rules

Retailers must now observe the two-metre rule between customers and staff and many stores such as Tesco has placed stickers on the shop floor as a distancing guide. Supermarkets like Sainsbury's and Asda have started monitoring the number of people in the store, too. If you have to queue, make sure you observe the two-metre rule outside too.

Avoid crowded aisles in shops

Try to avoid busy aisles in the supermarket. If the bakery aisle is really busy, get the items you need in another section first then return to the other section when it's quieter.

Wipe the trolley and basket handle

It's a good idea to carry some disinfectant wipes with you (if you were lucky enough to find some!). Give the trolley or basket handles a wipe before you use them then bin the wipes and use some hand sanitiser.

MORE: Supermarket shopping list during lockdown: Fresh foods, household essentials, store cupboard stock and buying for young children

trolley

Wipe the trolley handle with a disinfectant wipe

Only shop when necessary

Think about whether you really need to go to the shop. Are you just topping up supplies or are the items a necessity? Shopping less often will minimise your risk of catching coronavirus so try to pop to the shops as infrequently as possible.

Use contactless payments

Contactless card payments are a godsend right now, meaning we don't have to insert our pin number and touch yet more surfaces in public places. Try to use this method of payment as much as possible and remember to clean your bank card with a disinfectant wipe afterwards. Even better, M&S is urging customers to use their 'Mobile, Pay, Go' service where it's available.

Shop at stores with Perspex screens

Several supermarkets like Waitrose, Lidl and Morrison's have said they are installing Perspex screens at checkouts to protect staff. These also protect us from infection risk so shop at these checkouts when you can.

Wash hands straight after shopping

Always remember to either wash your hands or use sanitiser immediately after leaving the supermarket. Asda announced it is making hand sanitiser available to shoppers in all its stores. Another place of contamination could be your steering wheel in your car if you touch it straight after shopping, so give that a wipe too. If you've used your phone while in the store, clean this as well.

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Wash your hands thoroughly after shopping

MORE: Supermarket opening hours during lockdown - Tesco, Lidl, Asda and more

Only touch items you want to purchase

It sounds obvious, but if we only pick items we're actually going to buy, infection rate is likely to be reduced so think about fellow shoppers and only touch your own purchases.

Look for stores who deep clean

It's a good idea to find out if your local supermarket is doing regular deep cleans. Marks & Spencer are cleaning their trolleys, baskets, screens and touchpoints every hour and deep cleaning them at night.

Shop alone, not as a family

There's no point in doing your food shopping with other members of your household and increasing the family's infection risk – better for one person to go and observe the tips above.