As we all continue to physically distance ourselves to flatten the curve, one thing we all can’t avoid is the need to grocery shop for those needed items to feed you and your family for the next little while. It's a time where we may feel a bit anxious, and want to make sure that we are able to stay healthy while supporting one another during these difficult times.

Here is a list of grocery store etiquette rules while shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Don’t hoard beyond what you actually need  

Everyone is in the same boat and some are less fortunate than others. Take what you need and leave for other customers in the store. Hoarding communicates a sense of panic and that items are sold out.

  1. Keep your distance from other customers    

When shopping, keep a minimum of 6ft (approximately 2 metres) apart from other customers in the store. But don’t forget to smile; this is a time to feel UNITED.

  1. Look at the labels but don’t touch

It’s not the best time to look at every label. Purchase what you know and limit touching multiple items. The same goes for when picking produce. Use a plastic bag to pick your produce. Limiting the possible spread of germs.

  1. Be extra-kind to the front line workers (cashiers, grocery clerks/stockers)

These people are heros. They are working hard and effortlessly to help everyone have food on the shelves. They spend extra time away from their families to help their communities. Be extra kind, give them a huge smile and a simple “Thank you” goes a long way.

  1. Bring your own bags

With the large amounts of customers at the store, plastic disposable bag counts have been low. By bringing your own bags, you are able to reduce your carbon footprint and also save some additional cost. (Every 0.05 cents goes a long way)

  1. Limit purchasing WIC- Canada Items  

This is an important rule and could truly affect a large demographic of the Canadian population. Before you take an item, especially an item that is low in stock, check the price tag. You will find the WIC letters.  These are items for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children. With stock being lower than usual in store, it’s important to be mindful of those who may need it. Take the time to look for an alternative.  

  1. Wash your hands and sanitize

The key importance to reducing the spread of germs is to wash and sanitize your hands. Do this when you leave your car or after you handle your groceries.  

  1. Wash/Soak your produce

Germs have the ability to live off of surfaces and that includes fruits and veggies. Make sure to wash/soak your produce once you get home.

  1. Use credit cards/visa debit if possible.

It can be a habit to carry cash on us when trying to stay on budget or simply for comfort. However, in these times, cash can be an avoidable way to be contactless when in store. It’s important that we remember that the grocery store heroes and ourselves can be in a vulnerable state when interacting at the checkout counter. As there are accessible ways to limit physical interactions, whether it be tapping your credit card or visa debit on the payment terminal or having a tap installed to your smartphone, these are simple measures we can take to also reduce time spent in store.

With everyone dealing with the effect of COVID-19, we must all remember to be kind to one another and to help each other however we can. Whether that's implementing these 9 grocery etiquettes to your day to day, or taking your own approach of acts of kindness that uplifts those around you.

Written by Véronique Russel