Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying safe while shopping

There are steps everyone can take to help reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). When shopping, protect yourself by following the advice below.

When not to go shopping

Do not go out shopping if you are feeling unwell.

You must stay at home and arrange a COVID-19 test if you have:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of or change in sense of smell or taste

Ask a friend or neighbour to get some essentials for you and leave them at the door for you to collect.

You may be able to get an online delivery slot with your supermarket.

Reduce your risk when shopping

Where possible, you should shop locally and do not travel further than necessary.

You should shop alone, unless accompanying a vulnerable person or a child/ children under 18.

Shop at times when you think the shops won’t be busy. If you do not think you can maintain social distance within a shop, go back another time.

Before shopping

  • wash your hands for 20 seconds before you leave home

While shopping

The surfaces most likely to have the virus on them are those that are touched by lots of people, such as the trolley handle, the chip and pin machine, or at the self-checkout.

  • you must wear a face covering when you go to any retail premises, including any indoor area of a shopping centre, unless exempt
  • avoid touching your face
  • if sanitiser is available, wipe handles on trolley/ basket before and after use
  • keep a two metre physical distance between yourself and other people
  • use a contactless payment card if possible
  • if you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve

After shopping

  • wash your hands for 20 seconds
  • put away your shopping
  • wash your hands again

Retailers are working hard to help keep you safe and customers should behave responsibly.

You should abide by the shop’s guidance and instructions, including briefly removing your face covering, if requested, for proof of age.

You should also be polite and considerate to retail staff and be patient, as shopping/ queues may take longer than normal.

Click and collect

As well as following the guidance above, you should take the following steps when using click and collect services:

  • collect your items from the entrance door - do not ask or attempt to enter the shop
  • you must follow direction signs, one way systems, and shop capacities if provided by a retail outlet
  • use the infection control measures and hand sanitiser provided by the store

Outdoor retail

Although outdoor transmission of COVID-19 is much lower than indoor transmission, you are still advised to wear face coverings in outdoor queues or when visiting outdoor retailers.

When outdoors you should still keep a social distance of at least two metres (six feet) between you and anyone outside of your household, to minimise your exposure to the virus and the potential to spread the infection.

Guidance for retailers

Guidance has been developed for retailers to help keep their workplaces safe for staff and customers.

Visit the nibusinessinfo.co.uk website for more information:

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