The holiday season can be both exciting and overwhelming. With the pandemic still impacting individuals everywhere, it's important to keep in mind holiday shopping safety tips so you can lower your risk of infection.
Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
While COVID-19 may be on your mind in terms of holiday shopping, there are some general holiday shopping safety tips to consider as well. These include:
- If shopping with little ones, show them who to speak with if they become separated from you at any point. You may want to consider shopping with another adult who can help watch the kids, especially if stores are crowded or large.
- You may want to consider splitting up your shopping trips so you aren't overburdening yourself with tons of shopping bags to carry around.
- If worried about safety when walking to your car, you may ask a security guard to escort you to your vehicle.
- If your gut tells you to be wary of someone who may be following you, remain in a crowded area, and try your best not to isolate yourself.
- Make sure all valuables are hidden in your car and never leave your purse, wallet, phone, or anything else expensive out in plain sight. This may reduce the chance of a car break in.
Covid Holiday Shopping
Shopping safety tips to keep in mind during the pandemic:
- Be mindful of the store's policy during the pandemic. Some may be open with restrictions, while others may only allow for online purchases or curbside pickups. If in doubt, check the store's website, or give them a call.
- If you do opt to go into a store in person, be sure that the store is abiding by appropriate rules that keep both employees and customers safe. This may include increased sanitation, enforced proper mask wearing, social distancing, and restrictions when it comes to how many people are allowed in the store at a time.
- If you notice people are standing close together, aren't wearing masks at all, or aren't wearing masks properly, it's a good idea to leave the store to lower your risk of becoming infected.
- The lowest risk way to shop is to do so online and to avoid going to stores in person.
- If choosing between an outdoor shopping center versus indoor, the outdoor shopping center carries a lower risk of spreading COVID-19, but it is still important to wear your mask, maintain six feet of space between you and anyone else, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and bring sanitizer with you.
- The less time you spend in a public space, the better. Spending more time in public spaces increases your risk of contracting COVID-19.
- If using a shopping cart, be sure it has been properly sanitized before touching it. You may want to consider bringing your own sanitizing wipes when heading out shopping.
- Do not go to any public spaces if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around anyone who has been infected. Reach out to your doctor for appropriate next steps.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds once you've returned home and consider laundering your clothing and mask. Wipe down any surfaces your bags were touching once you've put your items away.
- Be sure to check Centers for Disease Control website on a regular basis to see any updates regarding COVID-19 safety tips and recommendations.
Holiday Food Shopping During the Pandemic
When holiday food shopping:
- Do not shop in a store that is not abiding by appropriate recommended COVID-19 safety practices.
- Wipe down your cart before touching the handle.
- Keep your mask on at all times and avoid touching your face.
- Make a list before heading to the store so you can shop as quickly as possible.
- Keep six feet between you and anyone else shopping in the store.
- When you get home, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, put your groceries away, and consider laundering your clothing and mask.
- You may choose to wipe down your groceries before putting them away.
- Always practice food safety when prepping your food before eating to ensure all food is cleaned and cooked properly.
How Will Shipping Be Affected by COVID-19?
Shipping times will most likely be delayed due to the increase in online shopping. Most stores will have an estimated time of arrival for certain products, but to be on the safe side, assume it may take an extra week or two before arriving.
When Should You Start Holiday Shopping?
Due to shipping delays and the increase in online shopping, it's best to start purchasing as soon as possible once you are sure of what to buy. If possible, make an effort to support small businesses who may be struggling to stay afloat in the midst of the pandemic. Not only will the products be more unique and less mass produced, but doing so can make a huge difference in supporting local artisans in your area.
Holiday Shopping Safety
Keeping in mind general shopping tips, as well as COVID-19 shopping safety tips can help keep you as safe as possible during the holiday season. If you begin to feel ill and are developing symptoms of COVID-19, be sure to reach out to a medical professional immediately who can direct you towards appropriate next steps.