Grocery workers have emerged as heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve transformed into front-line workers almost overnight, bravely showing up to keep the country fed and get them needed supplies. But in this pandemic, simply going in to work comes with a risk for grocery workers, and they want Canadians to help keep them safe. Before you head out on your next trip to the grocery store, remember these things:
- Don’t take the whole family shopping.
- Follow the rules.
- DON’T SHOP IF YOU ARE SICK.
- Be patient.
- Be polite.
- Don’t touch items unless you’re going to buy them
- Have a plan.
- Wash your hands
- Only shop once a week, or, even better, once every two weeks.
- Don’t bring your reusable bags.
Grocery shopping shouldn’t be a social occasion right now. Designate one person in the family to do the shopping and let them go alone. If you don’t have to, don’t bring the kids, as it can be difficult for them to maintain physical distancing. Every additional person in the grocery store increases the risk of exposure to everyone inside, and it also slows down the lines for people waiting outside to do their shopping.
Public health authorities have ordered Canadians to stay at least two metres (around 6 feet or the length of two shopping carts) away from people who do not live in the same household. That means that in lineups at stores, in the aisles, and at the checkout, you must stay two meters away from other shoppers and from cashiers, stockpeople, and other employees. It’s not a suggestion, it’s the law, and it’s to keep everyone safe.
If you are sick you must stay home until your symptoms completely pass. Even if you have only a runny nose or are just feeling a little bit under the weather. Some people who contract COVID-19 will have only mild symptoms, but they can still infect people and pass on the disease to vulnerable individuals. If you are feeling sick, try ordering delivery or asking a family member, friend or neighbor drop food off for you.
COVID-19 has caused a surge in the demand for groceries. There are long lineups and some items are temporarily unavailable. Many people are experiencing increased anxiety and worry. Grocery workers are doing their best to keep the shelves stocked, to help customers maintain physical distancing, and to carry out enhanced cleaning procedures to keep everyone safe. Many are working overtime and with increased anxiety of their own. Please be patient and remember that they are working very hard to serve you.
Grocery workers are very proud of the work they are doing to flatten the curve on the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve respect and they deserve kindness. Make sure to say thank you to grocery workers and be kind!
COVID-19 can be transferred from your hands to grocery items, and from those items to other people’s hands. Commit to buying an item before you touch it, and don’t touch, poke, or weigh pieces of fruit or vegetables before taking them.
Make a list before you go shopping so you can get what you need quickly and efficiently. When you’re in the stores, try not to pause too long in the aisles – other shoppers and workers have to wait for you to finish to enter the aisle. Try to get into and out of the store as quickly as you can.
The best way to prevent the transmission of Coronavirus is by frequently washing your hands and avoiding touching your face. Please wash your hands before going shopping and make sure to use disinfectant on shopping carts and baskets.
The more frequently you visit the store, the more you potentially expose yourself to the coronavirus, and the more you potentially expose other people. Grocery stores are extremely busy right now, which makes it more difficult for the workers. Make a plan to stock up on enough food and supplies for a week or two, and avoid returning to the store until you have to. It’s safer for everyone.
It is very difficult to properly sanitize reusable bags, and grocery workers have no way of knowing if your reusable bag has been cleaned. Many stores have banned them for the duration of the pandemic. If you must bring your reusable bags, don’t ask the workers to bag your groceries for you – offer to do it yourself.
BONUS: Speak out!
Grocery workers need your support right now. You can help them by writing a letter to the government to call for added safety protections for grocery workers.