How to protect yourself from coronavirus while grocery shopping

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A day after it was announced a Charlotte County Publix employee had tested positive for the coronavirus, many people who still have to go to the store may be wondering how to shop safely.

Experts say: get in and get out.

“Ultimately, people need to eat, they need to get groceries. So the thing is to minimize the exposure and get the essential supplies that you need,” said Robert Hawkes, director of the physician assistant program at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Hawkes recommends you be ready before you ever get out of your car. Have a grocery list and a plan.

“If you’re going into the store, going in for specific items, probably don’t linger any longer than you have to,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends putting on a facemask before you walk into the store, and of course, wiping down your cart before you start shopping.

Shoppers at Publix on Thursday heeded the warnings and came armed with masks and gloves.

The CDC still wants everyone to social distance – keep a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.

And the next time you go to Publix, you’ll notice one-way traffic signs, with arrows on the ground directing the flow of foot traffic in an effort to minimize interactions.

“That way you won’t be meeting customers kind of face to face. You will all kind of be moving in the same direction,” Hawkes said.

Lastly, use hand sanitizer right after you pay so you’re not bringing the germs into the car with you.

The CDC recommends ordering groceries online if you can.

If you need to go into the store, experts say to avoid going during peak hours and go alone.

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