5 tips for safe shopping under lockdown

Photo credit: Pexels shopping
Photo credit: Pexels shopping

Are you living in an area affected by the partial lockdown in Ghana as part of the fight against the spreading of coronavirus?

The good thing is that there is no need to panic during the period of the lockdown, as you would be allowed to go out and buy essential supplies during the two-week period.

Buying food, medicine and other essential supplies can be tricky during the coronavirus lockdown. Here are some tips on how to practice physical distancing while purchasing essential food and medical supplies with references from The Guardian

1. Stay 2 meters away from other customers and staff

Keep clear of people on the way to and from the shops, and when inside them as well, if possible. Be patient and take your turn to access goods in fridges and freezers. Some supermarkets are helping to do this by limiting the number of people who can be inside a shop at any given time. When purchasing your shopping, try to keep your distance from shop workers as well. With self-service checkouts and pin pads, you may have no choice but to come into contact with surfaces that have been handled by many people. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth until you have washed your hands. Some stores are providing hand sanitiser and cleaning shopping trolleys and baskets between customers.

2. Shop alone, not in groups

Clearly, there will be exceptions: for example, single parents with small children who cannot be left at home, but where possible you should try to shop alone. That will reduce the number of people inside stores, making physical distancing easier to achieve. It also reduces the number of people in your household exposed to the outdoors. Remember: studies show that, on average, people can have coronavirus for five days before they develop any symptoms, and all that time they can be unwittingly spreading it.

3. Only buy the essential things you need

It is natural that people worried about potentially being stuck indoors self-isolating for 14 days want to stock up on supplies. However, panic buying means there can be shortages of food and medical products for people who rely on them. And there are reports of increased food waste as people have stockpiled perishable goods that they could not possibly have consumed in time. If everybody buys only what they need, there will be enough for all.

4. Respect shopping hours for healthcare workers and the vulnerable

Many shops including supermarkets are setting aside certain hours of the week specifically for shopping to be carried out by key workers, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions that mean they are trying to shield themselves from exposure to the virus. Clearly, it is difficult to enforce this, but be considerate when you choose to visit the shops to avoid coming into contact with these groups.

5. Use delivery services where possible

The fewer people on the streets and in shops, the less chance there is for people to pass on coronavirus. If you can get delivery services, this will reduce the number of times you have to leave the number this will help slow, and ease, the peak of infections in the population that politicians and scientists worry will overwhelm health services.

These tips may come in handy for shoppers in city centres with malls, departmental stores centres and supermarkets.  But they can be applied to a large at local open markets as well.

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