Sacramento, CA—The California Grocers Association (CGA) has released its list of Top 10 Tips for Safe Shopping to help guide best practices for consumers. “Convenient and safe access to food and essential products at local grocery stores is more critical than ever during these uncertain times,” said Ron Fong, President and CEO of the CGA, in a press release. “Shoppers are understandably looking for credible and practical information about how to keep themselves, fellow shoppers and grocery workers safe and healthy.”
The top 10 list, as outlined in CGA’s announcement:
- Only visit the grocery store when it’s essential, and then buy only what you need for one week, or a little more. CGA advised consumers to get creative with what they already have in their kitchens before going to the store. “And don’t overbuy. There is enough for all if we keep shopping patterns normal.”
- Wash or disinfect your re-usable grocery bags after each use. CGA noted that some grocers are asking shoppers to bag thier own groceries if using reusable bags; others are not allowing reusable bags to be brought into their stores as a temporary measure.
- Help reduce store crowding. CGA is advising that only those necessary to the shipping trip go to the store. “Don’t bring extra people on your visit to the store if at all possible.”
- Practice social distancing within the store. The CDC guideline is 6-feet, and the average grocery cart is 3-feet long, so keep a distance of two grocery carts between you and others, CGA advised.
- Inspect produce with your eyes, not your hands. Also use a produce bag to make your selection.
- Avoid unnecessary handling of all items in store. “Try not to pick up cans or boxes or other products unless you plan to buy,” CGA said. “Let your eyes guide your choice.”
- Don’t crowd the checkstand. The 6-feet guide applies here, too. CGA noted that some grocers have marked the floors in and around the checkout area to help shoppers keep a safe distance. CGA also advised, “Wait until the customer in front of you has finished collecting their groceries before unloading your groceries at the checkstand.”
- Treat grocery employees with kindness. “They are working hard to provide everyone with safe access to the food and supplies they need,” CGA said. “Be patient as they go about their work including additional cleaning protocols and consider acknowledging them with a big ‘thank you.’”
- Be aware of your store’s special hours or procedures. Before heading to the store, CGA advises checking the store’s website or calling in advance, as many stores now have special shopping hours exclusively for seniors or other vulnerable populations.
- Allow for extra time. To avoid overcrowding in the aisles, many stores are having customers line up outside the main entrance.
Fong also addressed CGA efforts to reassure consumers that grocery stores will remain open and that food and essential supplies remain plentiful through its ‘Buy Smart. Don’t Overfill Your Cart.’ There is #Enough4All campaign. “Getting shopping patterns back to normal and reducing stress on both shoppers,” he said, “and the distribution system can go a long way toward creating normalcy in our grocery stores.”