If someone had told you last year that wearing a facemask in public would be mandatory and being in public after a certain time will likely lead to your arrest – you probably would have laughed.
Yet here we are – Covid-19 has crept into virtually every aspect of our lives, wreaking havoc along the way. The truth is that South Africa’s economy can’t withstand the current state of lockdown any longer. Research done by Nedbank (based on multiple factors) reports that by the end of 2020, 1.6 million jobs will be lost in South Africa.
Taking this into account, along with the fact that a vaccine is only expected to be available in March or April 2021, South Africa will need to adapt to life alongside Covid-19 - the new normal.
This is what shopping trips will be like from now on -
With the lockdown being eased to allow the sale of winter clothing - retail stores and shopping malls will soon be seeing customers again. Online shopping surged since the lockdown was implemented – even more so now that e-commerce stores are permitted to sell anything (save for tobacco and alcohol products).
Unfortunately, some things are only available in-store, in which case there are guidelines everyone must follow when in public.
Here are a few:
As we know, wearing a facemask (regardless of the type) is now mandatory in public. This means that you won’t be able to enter a store without one.
Plan your trip. Whether you always do weekly or monthly shopping trips, with more and more stores reporting infections among staff, it’s time to minimise your time spent in public places. Also, keep in mind that these places are breeding grounds for the virus – it’s enclosed which means that social distancing is virtually impossible, and items are constantly being touched by other customers which increase the risk of transmission.
Create a shopping list and buy everything you need the first time, so you don’t need to go back for something you forgot.
Choose one person to do the shopping. This is not the time to go shopping in large groups, so choose one (low risk) person within the household to do the shopping.
Limit the surfaces you touch. Circling back to the first point, surfaces within retail stores are touched by multiple people throughout the day, so use your shopping list and try to only touch items you know you will purchase.
Shop quickly & be efficient. Before leaving the house, phone ahead to find out how many people are currently in the store. This may sound like a step too far, but the risk of infection is real. Take your safety during shopping trips seriously and always be aware of your surroundings and those in the aisle with you.
Make use of in-store sanitizing stations. These can be found at the entrance and help customers to disinfect their hands, trolleys and baskets before doing their shopping.
Keep a safe distance at the tills as well. Most stores have installed safety screens at their till points and disinfect the counter after each payment, but contamination is still possible. Choose a pay point with the shortest line and remember to maintain at least a 1.5m distance between you and other customers.
When back in your car, spray disinfectant on your hands before touching the steering wheel.
When you get home –
- Take your shoes off and leave it in a secure area outside.
- Enter the house and take your mask off – remember not to touch the inside of the mask. Store it in a dry, well-ventilated area.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth until your hands have been disinfected or washed with soap and water.
- Go back and disinfect the door handle, too.
- Wipe a table with disinfectant before placing the groceries you purchased on it.
- Wipe every cardboard, glass and plastic container you bought with disinfectant before placing them on a shelf, or in your fridge or your freezer.
- Wash fresh, unpackaged food such as fruits and vegetables with soap and water then rinse well before you put them away.
- Disinfect door handles, fridge, and freezer handles, then wipe your kitchen counters again.
- Change into clean clothes and wash the outfit you wore to the shops.
- Lastly, wash your hands again with soap and water.