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HOW TO SHOP SAFELY DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Since half of the world is in lockdown or quarantine mode, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered many aspects of daily life, including shopping for essential food and household items. What was previously a routine task has turned into a nerve-wracking ordeal that brings with it multiple tensions. However, one still can leave their home to shop for essentials, but it is crucial to keep to important guidelines on physical distancing and hygiene. Besides, the Malaysian government has assured that there is no need to stockpile or bulk buy items and supply chains will continue to function as usual.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many stores are taking extraordinary safety and hygiene precautions such as limiting the number of people allowed in the store at any given time, sanitizing carts and frequently touched surfaces, and placing tape or markings on the floor as a practice of social distancing. While shopping for basic goods has become a challenge, as consumers, there are ways to reduce the spread of coronavirus by lowering the risk of catching it at the store, which in turn lowers the risk of transmitting the virus to others. In this article, we will explore some basic tips that could help preserve your health during the pandemic.

  1. Try getting your groceries delivered

Getting your groceries delivered helps in reducing the number of people going to stores and touching things. It also helps to lower the spread of COVID-19 from people who are infected but don’t show symptoms. Many grocery shopping stores provide the option shop online and deliver items directly to your door, or to be collected at a designated collection point. Various online platforms provide these services such as Tesco Online, Happy Fresh, Jaya Grocer, Mydin, DESA and MyGroser. In Sabah, Kundasang Valley partnering with Epost Express is now selling and delivering vegetables fresh from Kundasang to be delivered to your home. All transactions can be made online and you can enjoy a five percent discount empowered by Epost.

  1. Shop at off-peak times

If you are unable to get delivery, shopping at off-peak hours and buying items from one store (rather than visiting multiple stores) are the best options. Several choices may work well such as early in the morning (since people still like to sleep in), late at night (assuming your town/city hasn’t imposed a curfew), or during dinner time, when people are more likely to be home.

  1. One household member out at a time

It is best to shop alone since it helps to reduce the number of people going to the stores. Plus, leaving your children at home is a way to limit your family’s exposure. In fact, at this moment, grocery shopping should not be a family affair. Preferably, designate one person to go to the stores. Taking this step seriously, the Malaysian Government has enforced that only one person is allowed to go out to buy essential items, whether food items or medicines throughout the Movement Control Order.

  1. Avoid touching your face while shopping

It is important to avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, especially when you are out. The COVID-19 virus may linger on surfaces like supermarket shelves, carts, and checkout counters for hours. However, even if you have touched a contaminated surface, as long as you keep away from touching your face, you considerably mitigate the risk of getting infected.

  1. Practice contactless payment

Contactless payment by using debit or credit cards is considered safer and poses lower risk of virus transmission, because there is minimal contact compared to cash. The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommended people to turn to cashless transactions to fight the spread of COVID-19.

  1. Don’t go shopping if you have symptoms

You must not go out if you are feeling ill or showing symptoms of COVID-19 (such as fever, cough or shortness of breath), or if you think you have been exposed to the virus. In these cases, you must seek medical care immediately.

Months ago, shopping for essentials was something common to do. Today, it can be a challenge. However, if you practice these tips, you will be doing your part to stay safe while ensuring that you and your loved ones have the food and supplies you need during the ongoing pandemic.

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