The shopping experience at the grocery store is no longer the same since the COVID-19 pandemic.
That comfortable shopping space designed to encourage people to spend a lot of time with a vast option of items that allows them to touch, smell, and feel them are no longer safe as a result of fear over food safety and cross-contamination especially in the bulk section.
Health concerns have shifted to this section of the supermarket with a typical scenario of customers repeatedly touching items with their bare hands and then put it back on the shelf for other customers, this by implication, can increase the level of transmission risk of the viral COVID-19 virus.
In response to these concerns, many chain stores have already taken swift action to come up with solutions that may reduce the threat of cross-contamination. While some of these chain stores have eliminated all self-serve stations entirely, others who still keep these sections are cautiously taking precautionary measures to ensure safe shopping for their customers.
Shopping with safety
Talking about measures to keep the items at the bulk aisle section safe for shoppers, Madiba Mart, an upscale supermarket that offers a wide selection of products sourced both locally and internationally in the heart of Lekki, does not only dispense hand sanitizer to every customer at the entry point but also wipe frequently touched surfaces including their shopping carts with disinfectant on a regular basis.
They also check every customer’s temperature at the entry point to reduce the risk of contamination.
‘’We have made provisions for the safety of our customers and employee by ensuring we dispense hand sanitizers to every customer at the entry point to reduce the risk of contamination,’’ Ubanwa Oyudo, Head of Operations, Madiba Mart.
However, in as much as studies have shown that the virus can live long on surfaces, it does not mean the items you buy at the store are unsafe.
Most people wipe down their groceries with cleaning products before putting them away. These kinds of safety measures are considered unsafe and are not recommended by WHO as wiping down the packages with cleaning products containing chemicals could cause additional safety hazards.
Meanwhile, it is recommended to wash your hands after shopping and putting away groceries.
Other simple tips for safe shopping at the grocery store
- Avoid going to the store when you are sick. Most supermarkets such as Madiba Mart which recently announced its online shopping, now offer delivery services to encourage customers to stay indoors at this period of a pandemic. Leverage on this and make your orders from the comfort of your home and arrange for a pickup or have them delivered to your doorstep.
- Make sure you sanitize or wash your hands before leaving for the store and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, candles, and steering, etc.
- Ensure compliance with all safety signages in the store.
- Maintaining social distance does not mean you should not talk to other shoppers and store employees. Always try to keep at least 3 feet away from one another. A good scenario of this can be seen at Madiba Mart Lekki, where markings are made on the floor for both customers and store employees to control and maintain social distancing.
- Avoid touching your face while shopping.
- Make a list of items that you need, at least that will help you to limit touching unnecessary items and spend less time in the store.
- And finally, when you get home, put away your groceries and wah your hands.
Nevertheless, shopping from the comfort of your home is the best safety measure one can take if you don’t necessarily have to visit the store and Madiba Mart is there to serve your shopping needs.