Even though it is crucial to practise social distancing during COVID-19, running certain essential errands is unavoidable. These tasks include going to a grocery store, seeking medical care, topping up on gas, and going to the bank. Because these tasks are inevitable, it is important to carry out these errands in a manner that not only keeps you safe but also those around you safe. For all tasks, it is recommended that only one person per household perform these tasks. This will limit people’s exposure and make it easier to prevent the spread of the virus by limiting the number of people in contact.
- If possible, try to order your groceries online
- These can either be delivered to your doorstep or a curbside pickup can be arranged
- These may be delayed so order them before your stock runs low
- Try to shop during the off hours (avoid weekends and end of workdays)
- Stay at least six feet away from other customers
- Use hand sanitizer and/or wear gloves
- Avoid picking up different items without buying them
- Keep your phone in a bag or pocket
- Wear facial protection (mask or a face shield)
- Pay with cash instead of card (or via phone)
- Try to wait 72 hours before putting groceries away
The same precautions can be applied to other errands. When going to the bank, ensure that you wipe down the keypads and wash your hands immediately after use. There are also many drive-thru banking services and ATMs that do not require face-to-face interactions. Additionally, with regards to the pharmacy, many will mail prescriptions to your house. You may also find it helpful to talk with your doctor regarding a longer supply to reduce the number of trips.
For more serious tasks such as seeking medical care, call 9-1-1 if you feel that it is an emergency. For other problems that are not as serious, book an appointment with your doctor. If you feel you may be infected with the virus, let your doctor know in advance so they can prepare for your arrival.
During the difficult times of this pandemic, it may seem difficult to only leave your house to perform mundane tasks. However, it is important to yourself and the community to take these precautions to stop the spread of the virus.
Thinking about going out to support local shops and businesses? Read this article with Tips for Visiting Reopened Shops and Businesses.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Running Essential Errands
The Happiest Baby – How to Shop, Eat, and Run Errands Safely During a Pandemic
New York Times – How to Run Essential Errands
The University of Utah – RUNNING ESSENTIAL ERRANDS DURING A PANDEMIC