The Clog’s guide to pandemic-friendly shopping

Grocery Shopping
Josh Kahen/Staff

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It’s been four months since California was put on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s safe to say that we’ve somewhat adjusted to our masked, socially distanced way of life. And so have the stores in the Bay Area. In the past few weeks, stores beyond grocery stores have started opening for retail sales. We at the Clog have compiled this list of tips for those of you who are just returning to Berkeley or are not fully adjusted to shopping in the pandemic era.

Protect yourself and others

This almost goes without saying, but every time you leave your house, you should be wearing a mask, and the need for this is heightened when you’ll be entering a public indoor space such as a store. We also recommend that you use hand sanitizer provided at the store entrance and checkout counter, or bring your own if the store does not provide it. Some stores even have plastic gloves at the entrance for customers to use. Even if you personally are not convinced of the effectiveness of these safety measures, it’s worth following them simply for the peace of mind they provide to others.

Do your research

At the start of the lockdown, I made the mistake of visiting Trader Joe’s early in the morning to beat the rush. Little did I know that I arrived right at the start of the designated senior hour, so I found myself waiting in line for well over an hour just to enter the store. Many stores have also cut their hours to allow more time for cleaning, so you may not be able to run out and buy that ingredient you were missing for your late night batch of cookies. Doing some simple research on store hours ahead of time will ensure that this is not your fate.

Make a thorough list

Making a good shopping list is valuable even in a nonpandemic world, but even more so now. Doing this not only reduces the number of visits you’ll have to make to the store, but it also reduces the amount of time and circles around the store you have to take while shopping. It’s good to have your desired items in mind when retail shopping because the greeter may ask you which specific section of the store you’re visiting in order to ensure that shoppers are sufficiently spaced out.

Get ready to wait in line

Stores these days must limit the number of shoppers to ensure distancing, so waiting in line is an inevitable fate for all of us — whether that be to enter the store, access a particular section or check out. For those of us in the Bay Area, two local entrepreneurs have developed a website to save us all. StoreQueue allows you to track the wait times at grocery stores within a set distance of your location so you know just how long the line that you’re entering is before even leaving your house.

Be sure to thank the workers

We should honestly be thanking workers in stores all the time, but the importance of this is heightened right now. Workers in stores are in a position of potential exposure to the disease so that we have access to all of the goods we need — they deserve an extra thanks!

With these tips in mind, you’ll soon be taking seamless trips to the store that keep everyone safe, healthy and happy! Happy shopping!

Contact Beatrice Aronson at [email protected].