UACES Facebook Grocery Shopping During COVID-19
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Grocery Shopping During COVID-19

by Katie Frizzellwoman wearing face mask while grocery shopping

Someone in your family will have to go grocery shopping at some point during the pandemic, and chances are they already have. Every day new information is being shared by our local, state, and national governments on the best practices for getting through this crisis safely. I have compiled a list of what to do before, during, and after going to the grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep you, your family, and others in your community safe and healthy. We can all get through this together if we make a conscious effort to do our part!

First Things First:

  • Do not go unless it is a desperate situation
  • Limit trips to 1x every 2 weeks or even less often if you can
  • Only 1 person from each household should go to limit crowd sizes
  • Do not bring kids, elderly people, pregnant women, or anyone that is immunocompromised with you – if you know someone in this category that needs groceries, offer to buy for them and drop them at their door

Before Going to the Store:

  • Take inventory of your kitchen so you don’t buy extra, and you can use what you already have
  • Meal plan – know what you’re planning to cook and eat for most of your meals
  • Make a grocery list that follows the store layout to get you in and out faster. Try this printable shopping list!
  • Make sure you allow adequate time as shopping will take longer these days
  • Go at the right time – if the store has a special time that you qualify for, use it. If not, then still go early in the morning before 10am or late at night about an hour or so before closing, as less people are there at those times.
  • Big name stores have long lines to get in the store and long lines to check out. If you can order online or order ahead, please do it, however this is very hard to do right now as pickup times are almost always booked.
  • Go to your neighborhood, family owned store. They need the business and they have great customer service. There are usually less people here and these places are more likely to have services so you can call in your list and they will bring your groceries to your car.

While At the Store:

  • Stay 6ft apart from everyone whenever possible
  • Wear a mask at all times – make your own or use a bandana, t-shirt, or fabric scrapes – just make sure to wear that mask! Instructions on how to make a mask can be found at edu/ehc
  • Wear gloves if you have them, just don’t forget glove etiquette and remember – do not touch your face!
  • Bring your own reusable bags because not only are they better for the environment, but you can wipe down plastic ones and wash fabric ones.
  • Minimize distractions at the store – my tip is to wear headphones so people will think you can’t talk.
  • Be nice to store workers! If something is out of stock, do not ask them to go look for it, they are stocking as fast as they can.
  • Be respectful of other shoppers. We can limit interactions but still be polite!
  • Do not buy the entire stock of something and do not panic buy. Only get what you need.
  • If they do not have something you need, improvise or do without. We all have to make sacrifices during these times. If it is something you desperately need, you can check other stores, but the best thing is to do without.
  • Throw away gloves before getting into the car, but do not throw them on the ground. Put them in one of your shopping bags. Immediately use hand sanitizer once you’re in the car.

Step by Step: What to Do When Getting Home From the Store

  • Take shoes off outside the door.
  • Immediately put away groceries. You do not have to wipe them down, but if you want to, do it before bringing them in the house.
  • Do not wash fruits and vegetables with soap, vinegar, or any other cleaning products. This is harmful to you! Warm water and a designated scrub brush are enough to remove unwanted germs from fresh produce.
  • Clean reusable bags or put washable ones in the washer.
  • Put reusable masks in the washer or throw away disposable ones.
  • Put the clothes you wore to the store in the washer with the bags and your reusable mask and start up the machine. Check your washer settings and make sure the water is set to the hottest temperature. Set the dryer to the hottest temperature, also. You can use bleach and other laundry sanitizers to help sanitize laundry as well.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds!
  • Put on clean clothes.
  • Go back and clean all door handles, light switches, or anything you may have touched before washing your hands.

Watch the recording of our Zoom meeting:

Hopefully this information has been helpful to you and you can use it the next time you are planning a trip to the grocery store. If you would like to read more blog posts on grocery shopping check out these links:

Grocery Shopping Made Easy

Shop Smart to Fill Your Cart

For more Extension info on COVID-19, please click here.

As always, stay Savvy and stay SAFE!


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.