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6 Parts of the Grocery Store You Should Try to Avoid

The pandemic isn't over yet—stay safe with these tips.
Young woman with face mask using mobile phone and buying groceries in the supermarket during virus pandemic.

Whether you're gearing up for another month of quarantine or your state has started reopening, there's one thing everyone has in common: You have to eat. And while there are grocery delivery options and meal kits, they can be cost-prohibitive or difficult to snag a delivery spot. Most people are still heading to the grocery store—and risking potential exposure to the coronavirus along the way. Here are the parts of the grocery store you may want to avoid to stay safe.

Of course, the biggest risk factor is being around other people. Wearing a face mask and staying away from other people in the grocery store can help prevent the spread of germs. And if it's possible, head to the store by yourself, rather than with roommates or family members. You're more likely to get the virus from other people than from surfaces, but it's still a good idea to carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face after coming into contact with high-touch items like grocery carts. That being said, here are a few things to avoid touching at the grocery store if you can.

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1

The bathroom

supermarket bathroom
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Hopefully, your local grocery store is cleaning the bathroom regularly. But if you aren't too far away from home, using the store's restroom could mean exposing yourself to more germs. If you do use the bathroom, be sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds.

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2

Freezer doors

freezer aisle
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Yes, you may want to stock up on frozen food right now. But if you have to open the freezer door to get what you need, you may want to sanitize your hands afterward. There's no telling how many customers touched that handle before you did.

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3

The produce section

Mom and little boy buy fresh vegetable in grocery store. Family in shop.
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No, we're not saying you should avoid the fresh produce section entirely! But this is one area where you'll want to be careful when shopping. If you're buying unwrapped produce, it doesn't hurt to wash it before you eat it. And when you're shopping in the fruit and vegetable aisles, be sure to wear a mask so you don't inadvertently pass on any respiratory droplets.

Plus, the produce section is home to the high-touch produce scales. If you're weighing your food, you might want to sanitize your hands after using the scales and, once again, wash your food off before you eat it.

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4

Shelves

22-year-old man with protective mask makes purchase in supermarket
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When you're reaching for a boxed or packaged food, try to avoid touching the shelf itself. You'll probably be fine, but it's easy enough to avoid touching the shelves. And why add any extra risk to your shopping trip?

In addition to shelves, another high-touch area to look out for is bulk-bin scoops. It doesn't hurt to use hand sanitizer when you're done with that scoop!

5

Freezer and refrigerator bumpers

browsing grocery store
Shutterstock

The handles aren't the only thing to look out for in the frozen section. Unless you're spraying your shoes with Lysol every time you walk in the door, there's no reason to rest your foot against a bumper and risk additional germs coming home with you.

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6

Any section that's crowded

girl in a protective medical mask looks at the camera and stands in line at the cash register in a supermarket
Shutterstock

Yes, keeping your distance in a grocery store can be challenging. And waiting for someone else to move on from the exact spot where you need to grab that carton of milk can be frustrating. But maintaining a six-foot distance (even if you're both in masks) can slow the spread of the virus, which is worth the extra time commitment.

And for more ways to stay safe, here are 7 Grocery Store Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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