What Precautions Do You Take at the Grocery Store?

It’s been just over a week since the CDC asked us to wear cloth masks. I hear from a major grocery shopper in our family that they are suddenly popular – he estimates that 60 to 80% of people use some kind of face mask.

It seems every conversation I have lately includes at least some discussion of the precautions we all take. What are you doing in the store? What have you seen other people doing in the store and why are they wrong?

As we mentioned, the effectiveness of cloth face masks is still debated . No one has ever studied what happens when you tell a group of people to wear cloth masks in the midst of a pandemic, so the authorities recommending masks make a judgment, and only time will tell if it was correct.

When you wear a mask, you must wear it correctly : washing your hands before and after, and not touching the mask while wearing it, are just a few of the most important points. I have heard of people who, for example, repeatedly grabbed the front of the mask in order to rearrange it. Do not do this. And if you are wearing gloves, you need to be careful with what you touch with gloves and with your hands, as this glove-wearing ecologist’s line makes clear.

We’ve also established that you don’t need to sanitize your products , but you still need to make a lot of judgments about the details. Do you wash your shopping bags every time you use reusable ones? Or do you just keep them in your car? (Carless New Yorkers are rolling their eyes at me now.)

We also spend more time thinking about the logistics of going to the grocery store. One of my parents went to the local store for “senior hours” and found that there were many more people there than at other times. And while there is one person in our family who does the shopping, I wondered if that really protects the rest of us or not.

So let’s talk: what precautions do you take when you go outside? What have you seen other people doing, good and bad? What questions do you have?

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