To help customers adjust to in-store changes and stay safe at supermarkets in response to coronavirus, the California Grocers Association (CGA) has released “Top 10 Tips for Safe Shopping.”
CGA said Wednesday that the grocery shopping guidance comes as California has extended stay-in-place orders at least another 30 days. Meanwhile, grocery store associates continue to go the extra mile to keep shelves well-stocked with food and daily essentials as well as help prevent the spread of COVID-19 via more thorough cleaning.
“Convenient and safe access to food and essential products at local grocery stores is more critical than ever during these uncertain times. Shoppers are understandably looking for credible and practical information about how to keep themselves, fellow shoppers and grocery workers safe and healthy. Today, we are releasing a list of ‘Top 10 Tips for Safe Shopping’ to help guide best practices for consumers,” stated CGA President and CEO Ron Fong.
CGA’s top 10 grocery shopping tips for consumers — which retailers can use as a template for guiding their customers — are the following:
1. Only visit the grocery store when it’s essential, and then buy only what you need for one week, or a little more.
Be creative with what you have on hand before going to the store and don’t overbuy. There is enough for all if we keep shopping patterns normal.
“The California Grocers Association also continues to take steps to reassure consumers that grocery stores will remain open and that food and essential supplies remain plentiful through our ‘Buy Smart. Don't Overfill Your Cart. There is #Enough4All’ campaign,” Fong noted.
2. Wash or disinfect your reusable grocery bags after each use.
For your safety, some grocers ask that you bag your groceries if using reusable bags, while others have decided to temporarily not allow reusable bags to be brought into their stores.
3. Help reduce store crowding.
Don't bring extra people on your visit to the store if at all possible.
4. Practice social distancing in the store (or two grocery carts of space).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline is six feet, the safe distance to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. An average grocery cart is three feet long, so keep a distance of two grocery carts between you and others.
5. Inspect produce with your eyes, not your hands.
To avoid unnecessary handling of fruit and vegetables, use a produce bag to make your selection.
6. Avoid unnecessary handling of all items in store.
Try not to pick up cans or boxes or other products unless you plan to buy. Let your eyes guide your choice.
7. Don’t crowd the checkstand.
Keep your distance from the person in front of you. As a courtesy, some grocers have marked the floors in and around the checkout area to assist you in keeping a safe distance. Also, wait until the customer in front of you has finished collecting his/her groceries before unloading your groceries at the checkstand.
8. Treat grocery employees with kindness.
They are working hard to provide everyone with safe access to the food and supplies they need. Be patient as they go about their work including additional cleaning protocols and consider acknowledging them with a big “thank you.”
9. Be aware of your store’s special hours or procedures.
Many grocers are offering special shopping hours exclusively for seniors or other vulnerable populations. Check out your store’s website or call in advance.
10. Allow for extra time.
Some stores are lining up customers outside their main entrance to reduce crowding within the store.
“Getting shopping patterns back to normal and reducing stress on both shoppers and the distribution system can go a long way toward creating normalcy in our grocery stores,” Fong added.
The California Grocers Association’s membership encompasses more than 300 retailers operating over 6,000 brick-and-mortar stores, as well as approximately 150 grocery supply companies.
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