While we’re still getting used to what “essential” means, families around Champaign-Urbana have errands to run while the stay-at-home order is in place
We have some tips that will help parents and families safely grocery shop for your family during these times
There are a number of things that are causing families stress and anxiety while the COVID-19 pandemic is happening and a stay-at-home order is in place.
“Essential errands,” like grocery shopping, banking, refilling prescriptions, and visiting the doctor, are some of the few things we are finding ourselves still doing on a regular basis. In Champaign-Urbana and many other places, families are full of questions on how to carry out these “essential errands,” especially grocery shopping, in the safest manner possible to reduce transmission of the virus and safely complete the errand set out to do.
On April 10, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) put together some guidelines on running to the grocery store. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to grocery shopping around Champaign-Urbana.
Thanks again to the CDC for these helpful tips and guidelines.
- Only visit stores when you absolutely need to. This limits your potential exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. We know you WANT to visit the store, especially since it’s considered an essential errand. But skipping the trip for the chicken breasts you WANT when you have something else you can prepare for dinner will help reduce the crowds in the stores by just one person at a time, contributing to the greater goal of social distancing. Just stay home until you absolutely NEED to go to the store.
- Order online or use curbside pickup, when possible.
We hear it may be challenging to secure a grocery pickup slot in Champaign-Urbana these days. You may have better luck getting a curbside pickup slot at the Meijer in Urbana versus North Prospect, and you can typically find a spot at Walmart within 24 hours. Be prepared to wait a little longer for your order though, as pickup is in high demand right now and store employees are working hard to fulfill orders.
Where else can you find curbside pickup? Common Ground Food Co-Op and Old Time Meat & Deli are offering this service via phone orders. County Market and Harvest Market have online ordering but are typically scheduling several days (or even a week) out at the writing of this article. Sam’s Club has online ordering but still requires you to walk into the Club to pick up your order (membership required).
- Send one shopper per family, whenever possible, and abide by store occupancy/admittance limits. Knowing there are circumstances that necessitate shoppers to bring a child with them or assist a vulnerable shopper in the store, it is encouraged to only send one person at a time to the store whenever possible.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when you must go out. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth during your trip.
- Pick off-peak hours, when possible, to do your shopping. Fewer people will be in the stores during early morning and late evening times. In Champaign-Urbana, we are seeing the least crowds in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week. Avoid the pre-dinner time hours as people do make trips to the store for last-minute items and generally, more cars and people are out and about after a day of work or stuck at home. Some stores have early morning hours on certain or all days reserved for people with higher risk for severe illness.
- Disinfect the shopping cart, using disinfect wipes when possible. Many Champaign-Urbana stores are doing this for shoppers. You’ll also see some changes to normal procedures at area Aldi stores, including that the team members will not scan your groceries into a different cart, so that you can use the same cart for your entire shopping experience.
- If possible, use touchless payment (pay without touching money, a card or a keypad). Many credit/debit cards have this feature now. You can also set up Apple Pay on your iPhone, or other similar payment methods on your device. If you do end up using money/a card, use hand sanitizer right after paying.
- Use hand sanitizer when you leave the store and wash your hands for 20 seconds upon returning home. We like to keep hand sanitizer in our vehicle for easy access and will grab a pump as soon as we climb in, before pulling the door shut or touching the steering wheel. (Looking for hand sanitizer? We were able to buy two small bottles on Monday at Schnuck’s in Savoy.)
- Follow food safety guidelines upon returning home: clean, separate, cook, chill. The CDC states, “There is no evidence that food or food packaging has been linked to getting sick from COVID-19.”
This is how the CDC describes food safety.
- Clean: wash hands, utensils and surfaces often. Wash fruit and veggies but not meat, poultry or eggs.
- Separate: do not cross contaminate by keeping separate cutting boards in your home and keeping certain types of food separate (like raw meat and fresh produce)
- Cook: cook food to the right temperature
- Chill: refrigerate and freeze food properly and promptly
We know there’s a lot of information “out there” on safely grocery shopping during this pandemic. Champaign-Urbana stores are really going the extra mile to make this the safest experience possible for our residents and we are happy to do our part to share the word about what WE can do as a community to do our part. Happy (socially distanced) shopping!
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