Running Essential Errands
Grocery Shopping, Take-Out, Banking, and Getting Gas
- Stay home if sick.
- Use online services when available.
- Wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Use social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from others).
- Use hand sanitizer after leaving stores.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home.
Stay home if sick
- Avoid shopping if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
Order online or use curbside pickup
- If possible, limit visiting the grocery store, or other stores selling household essentials, in person. In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
- Order groceries and other items online for home delivery or curbside pickup (if possible) or check with your local grocery store to see if pre-order or drive-up options are available.
Protect yourself while shopping
- Wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when social is distancing is difficult.
- When you do have to visit in person, go during hours when fewer people will be there (for example, early morning or late night).
- If you are at higher risk for severe illness, find out if the store has special hours for people at higher risk. If they do, try to shop during those hours.
- If you normally bring your own reusable shopping bags, ensure they are cleaned before each use. Some locations have temporarily banned the use of reusable shopping bags during the COVID-19 pandemic, so check your state, local, store or market policies before bringing reusable bags.
- Disinfect the shopping cart, use disinfecting wipes if available.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others while shopping and in lines.
- Use marked entry or exit points and follow any directional signs or floor markings designed to keep people at least 6 feet apart.
- Only touch products that you plan to purchase, if possible.
- Consider not consuming any sample or purchase food or drink items from self-service stations.
- If possible, use touchless payment (pay without touching money, a card, or a keypad). If you must handle money, a card, or use a keypad, use hand sanitizer right after paying.
Practice hand hygiene
- Before entering and after exiting the grocery store or market, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- When you get home, and before preparing or eating food, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Unpack safely at home
- Currently, the risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from food products, food packaging, or bags is thought to be low. However, it is always important to follow good food safety practices.
- When unpacking groceries, refrigerate or freeze meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and other perishables within 2 hours of purchasing.
- Do NOT use disinfectants designed for hard surfaces, such as bleach or ammonia, on food packaged in cardboard or plastic wrap.
- After unpacking groceries, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Regularly clean and disinfect kitchen counters using a product from EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19)external icon.
If you are shopping at farmer’s markets or open-air markets, follow the general principles listed under Grocery Shopping, plus the following:
Limit in person contact if possible
- Pay online or on the phone when you order (if possible).
- Accept deliveries without in-person contact whenever possible. Ask for deliveries to be left in a safe spot outside your house (such as your front porch or lobby), with no person-to-person interaction. Otherwise, stay at least 6 feet away from the delivery person.
Meal Kits and Delivery
- Because of COVID-19 outbreak, some deliveries have been delayed
- If you have a meal kit or prepared meal delivery, check the temperature of the food immediately after it is delivered.
- The only way to know the food is safe to eat is to use a food thermometer to make sure the food is 40°F or below.
- Refrigerate or freeze your delivery as soon as possible.
- For more information about meal kits and delivery good safety, see Tips for Meal Kit and Food Delivery Safety.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after accepting deliveries or collecting mail
- After receiving your delivery or bringing home your takeout food, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- After collecting mail from a post office or home mailbox, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Bank online whenever possible
- Ask about options for telephone or virtual meetings to use banking services.
- Use drive-thru banking services, automated teller machines (ATM), or mobile banking apps for routine transactions that do not require face-to-face assistance as much as possible.
- Look for any extra prevention practices being implemented by the bank, such as plexiglass barriers for tellers or bankers, staff wearing masks, or physical distancing signs in the lobby.
- Wear a mask when doing any in-person exchanges and unable to stay at least 6 feet apart from other people – and make sure that bank employees and other people inside the bank are also wearing cloth face coverings.
- Use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol after any deposit, withdrawal, exchange, drive-thru visit, or use of an ATM.
- Wash your hands thoroughly when you arrive home or to your destination where a restroom is available.
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