How to grocery shop safely amid coronavirus

As more cases of coronavirus continue to be reported, curfews and shelters in place are being put in place in cities around the area, but families still need to eat.

Here are some precautions you can take to shop for food and necessities as safely as possible to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Shop during off-hours and not every day

In addition to avoiding multiple trips within a week, when you do shop, do so at low-traffic times. The less people around in a confined space, such as a grocery store, the easier it is to practice social distancing and remain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended six feet apart from other people. Wave or nod to greet people, rather than hugging or shaking hands.

Wipe down surfaces

Use the disinfectants listed by the Environmental Protection Agency to wipe down and disinfect surfaces that outside materials -- including food and grocery packaging -- have been on surfaces in your home.  This is particularly the case if you think you may have been around people showing signs of respiratory illness or who have been exposed to the virus, according to Consumer Reports.

When shopping, wipe down carts and your hands with a disinfectant wipe or spray. Do the same after shopping.

Avoid unnecessarily touching items

If you don’t think you will need an item, avoid touching it  -- or multiple packages of an item when browsing for groceries.

Gloves are not of much use when it comes to prevention, as they will contaminate other surfaces and items if you touch a contaminated product.

Pay with cards or mobile pay

Rather than cash, pay with cards -- or with your phone, such as with Apple Pay, Google Pay, or another digital wallet, and avoid taking the receipt if you don't need it.

Have ordered groceries left outside

For groceries you get by delivery -- and any meal-delivery services, ask that groceries be left outside your door.

"If contact-less delivery of groceries or meals is available, opt for it," Dr. Chris J. Wiant, MPH, Ph.D., Chair of the Water Quality and Health Council, told Good Housekeeping.

Wash your hands

More than anything, including wearing a mask - washing your hands for the CDC-designated 20 seconds -- or longer -- with soap and water will be the best thing to do. You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and face. The Food and Drug Administration has said there is currently no evidence to support that the virus is transmitted from food packaging, but good hygiene should still be in practice.

"If you use a pasta box a few days after you get it, there is little likelihood that the virus could still be live on the box and cause an infection," Eike Steinmann, a virologist at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum in Germany, told Consumer Reports.

Be sure to wash your hands before and after handling putting away groceries and packaging, including boxes and bags.