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Here's When You Should Go Grocery Shopping, Depending on Your Age

Before you visit the grocery store, you'll want to take three things into consideration.
Young woman with face mask walking through grocery store during COVID-19 pandemic.

With so many bars, restaurants, and cafés temporarily closed, having enough food stocked in the fridge, freezer, and pantry is of utmost importance. However, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering when it's safest for you to go grocery shopping.

Traversing through a grocery store or supermarket can put you at risk of exposure to the virus, with others roaming in and out of the same aisles as you and having previously touched the food items that are now sitting in your cart. While no age group is immune to the virus, those who are 60 years and older tend to be at higher risk of fatality. Additionally, those who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised are also at high risk, making it all the more important for these individuals to minimize exposure as much as possible.

So, when it comes to the question of when is the best time for you specifically to go grocery shopping, aside from age, you'll want to take two other factors into consideration: history of health complications and frequency of shopping.

elderly woman grocery shopping
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If you're 60 and older, you should consider looking at AARP's roundup of supermarkets that are offering seniors-only hours for shoppers. For example, at Whole Foods seniors are welcome to come in and shop an hour before it opens to the general public every day of the week.

Not all stores are offering seniors-only hours all seven days of the week, though, which is why it's so important to look online or call ahead before going to shop. For example, Costco is allowing customers who are 60 years and older to come in an hour early on just Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

RELATED: 17 Foods You Should Buy at Costco During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Other stores have implemented special hours that cater to both older and immunocompromised customers. At Albertsons and Safeway, seniors and those who have compromised immune systems or are pregnant can come in each Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. to shop safely.

Finally, there's the frequency at which you go grocery shopping. How often are you going? Two or three times a week? Once a week? Regardless of age or history of health complications, the frequency at which you go to the store should be the same across the board.

Bettina Fries, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook University in New York, told the Washington Post that people should ideally, only be going to the grocery store, at the most, twice a week. The idea is to reduce the number of trips you make, but buy more groceries per trip so that it lasts throughout the entire week. If you live alone, you might even be able to get away with going to the grocery store once every two weeks.

So, before you think about heading to your favorite grocery chain, be sure to ask yourself how many times you've visited a store in the past seven days. Wear a mask and, if available, latex gloves. And, if you need inspiration for your grocery list, check out Here's One Full Week of Easy Meals You Can Make at Home.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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