How To Safely Shop And Sanitise During Coronavirus

Words: Katrina Rose Wind

There are a vast amount of local businesses that have pulled together to provide essential delivery services so that you don’t have to leave your home. However, if you still need to physically go to the shops then you might want to keep some safety tips in mind.

How To Handle Products Whilst In The Shop

The WHO has said that we need to avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as sneezing and/or coughing. This makes shopping a hazard because we can’t control the people around us. Although the CDC has said that it is possible to contract the virus from surfaces, the bigger threat is person to person contact.

If you are regularly going to the shops the best time to go is on off peak hours. In Cape Town at least, we have been lucky enough that staff members of stores are cleaning the handles of shopping carts before giving them to us for use. If you don’t see a staff member around, make sure to disinfect your cart with the hand sanitiser that is provided before entering the shop.

The CDC has said that Coronavirus, or better yet, the RNA that causes Covid-19, can live on surfaces for up to or longer than 17 days. This comes after the news that the virus was found on the surfaces of the Diamond Princess ship 17 days after its passengers had left.

Avoid touching as many things in the store as you usually do and really try to pick the items carefully before putting them in your trolley. Go an extra step further and leave my phone at home altogether. Phones have become part of people, the problem is that phones can ‘carry more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies, which can play a role in the spread of infectious agents.’ Dr. Amy Adams told CNBC.


Sanitise All Your Purchases At Home

The answer is yes. The risk of getting the virus from a surface is low, but the risk is still there. It’s better to sanitise each product you bring home carefully. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, you should wash them like you regularly do, regardless of the virus, it is still important to wash your fruit and veggies.

After you have put away your groceries, remember to disinfect your countertops or anywhere you have placed your groceries since coming home. Throw away the plastic bags from the store and if you are using reusable shopping bags, then you should be washing them regularly. This is a big one, do not forget to wash your hands.

Disinfect Your Kitchen

I’ve been guilty of just wiping my counters with disinfecting wipes and not cleaning with water first. It’s important to wipe your counter down with sanitiser after you have cleaned the kitchen counter properly first. This should be normal practice regardless of Corona to avoid getting food-borne bacteria that could be harmful to you.

Although there haven’t been any cases of coronavirus being contracted from food thus far, during these times when we are trying to flatten the curve, it’s better to be overly precautions than nonchalant about the virus.

Delivery Is Safer, But You Still Have To Sanitise Those Products

In Cape Town and Joburg we have been lucky to have extensive options when it comes to delivery. It can be significantly more pricey than going to the shops, but if you are able to spend the extra cost than it is the better option. As we know, the virus spreads from person to person contact, with delivery you’re coming into contact with less people than you would have been if you were at the shops and in some cases, contactless delivery. However, you still have to disinfect those products too and make sure to wash your hands after every product has been sanitised.

On a separate note, think about the delivery guys that are bringing your groceries to your home, and make sure to tip them thoughtfully. They are somewhat risking themselves for us so let’s be mindful of that. If there is a contactless delivery option, always opt for that instead.

Don’t Overstock, Everyone Hates That Guy

In the United States, The Department of Homeland Security recommends that Americans have a two-week supply of water and basic food supplies. It has also been recommended to have basic health supplies and nonprescription drugs on hand, just in case symptoms start to show in order to avoid spread of the virus.

What this means is, if you financially can, it’s good to have a two to three week supply of food and products at home. Don’t be that person that buys all the toilet paper making it hard for others to find the same products that you need. Think of those who are living pay check to pay check or the elderly who can’t go from shop to shop looking for the essential products they need. If you want a thorough list of food products that you should be buying during these times, don’t forget to check out our article that gives you a guide on what is important.


The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has a toll-free number for the public that deals with Covid-19 related issues or questions: 0800 029 999. The line is operated 24 hours a day.

*If you want to make a difference shop from Shop For Health Care Heroes. Jarred and Dean Freedberg, the founders of FreeKapital and The Ghost Kitchen, a web-based restaurant delivery business known for its high-quality brands such as Pizza Co, Burgerboss, Slaai | Urban salad co. and Snack Snack have come up with this site, an online groceries and basic essentials retailer where ALL of the profits will be donated to hospitals fighting on the Covid-19 front line.

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