Coronavirus roundup 2 for April 2nd: Health officer offers shopping, store guidelines

Shopping guidelines for keeping safe

From: Dr. Brian Niedbalski, Bartholomew County Health Officer


  • Go alone. Do not bring children or other family members or friends.
  • Whether waiting in line before a store opens, while waiting to get a cart, or waiting in line to make a purchase, keep a 6-foot buffer zone between the person in front of or behind you.
  • Don’t congregate in the aisles, especially the produce section. Take turns if possible.


  • Limit your trips by buying what you need for two weeks, but don’t hoard.
  • If you are not feeling well, don’t shop.
  • High-risk (elderly and people with underlying health conditions) should avoid going into stores.


  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before you leave your home and when you return.
  • Consider using hand sanitizer after touching high touch areas in the store (i.e. freezer door handles, etc.)
  • If available, use the store’s wipes to wipe down the cart you are using before and after your shopping trip.
  • Consider bringing your own disinfecting wipes (to wipe down carts) and hand sanitizer as stores may run out during busy times.
  • Don’t pick up or touch items you don’t intend to buy. If available, wear plastic gloves and a mask when you shop and don’t touch your face.
  • If you wear gloves and a mask, handwashing and distancing are still critical to prevent the spread of infection. Don’t let mask and gloves give you a false sense of security.


  • Use grocery store curbside pickup, online ordering, and/or telephone ordering when available.
  • Many stores are offering dedicated shopping hours to elderly or at risk patients- utilize these times if possible for you.
  • Consider shopping early when stores are the cleanest or time shopping trips to “off” times when crowds are less likely.


  • Use a payment app on your smartphone.
  • Use a credit/debit card in the self-checkout line.
  • Self-checkout kiosks are high touch surfaces.
  • Wash your hands immediately after using.


  • Consider anything you bring home as contaminated.
  • It is not fully understood how long the virus can live on surfaces.
  • Keep non-perishable items in the garage or on a porch for three days. Or thoroughly clean each item before you put items away.
  • Clean your hands after putting items away.
  • Sanitize countertops after you unload your groceries.


  • Remember to be kind to the employees who are providing a life-critical service for the rest of us. They deserve our respect and our thanks.

Recommendations for retail stores

1. Adjust store layout to enable shoppers to stay 6 feet apart at all times.

2. Utilize employees to direct traffic so shoppers don’t congregate in produce, meat, dairy and other aisles.

3. Consider making aisles one-way.

4. Reduce the height of or eliminate in-aisle, point-of-purchase displays so shoppers don’t inadvertently bump into each other.

5. Consider limiting the number of people in store at one time:

  • Establish a shopper maximum appropriate for your store
  • Monitor entrances & exits

6. Mitigate virus transmission between shoppers & employees. Consider implementing the following best practices:

  • Employees wear masks & gloves
  • Implement daily deep cleaning
  • Implement shift start & end temperature check protocols
  • Install protective panels at checkout and pharmacy counters

7. Consider selling only essential items for the next two weeks.

8. Consider offering separate shopping times to at-risk or elderly customers.