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Shopping etiquette in the time of coronavirus

4 May 2020 By SHADDAD AL MUSALMY

Shopping for necessities is inevitable even during the COVID-19 crisis. The Ministry of Health, however, recommends certain shopping etiquette that needs to be adopted as a means to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has called on shoppers in Oman to exercise caution while shopping to curb the spread of COVID-19 due to unhealthy behaviour in public places.

The MoH stresses that hand hygiene and safe health practices need to be observed while moving around hypermarkets, making payments, using shopping carts, avoiding contact with display surfaces, as well as maintaining a safe distance from everyone – shoppers as well as vendors – all the time, an MoH statement said.

With an emphasis on e-shopping as the best way to shop, as it eliminates touching cash and reduces contact with others, MoH states, “The most important action for infection prevention during shopping includes washing or disinfecting your hands before entering the shopping mall, make sure the shopping cart is disinfected and not touching items that are not needed.”

The statement further calls on shoppers to carry their own shopping bags and fill them with  stuff purchased so that vendors and other staff do not have to touch the bags. Also, washing hands with soap and water before and after shopping, maintaining  a distance of two metres between people and avoiding shopping at crowded times has been recommended.

It has been advised to assign only one member of the family for shopping. Elder people, pregnant ladies and children are not allowed to go shopping. It is better to pay via credit card as much as possible and cashiers have been asked to take sanitisation precautions after dealing with each customer.

Shoppers hav also been asked to dispose off shopping bags immediately and wash hands afterwards. It is preferred to wash tinned products and others items before storing them in the kitchen. Fruits and vegetables can be cleaned using water and vinegar. When you arrive at the house after shopping and before opening the shopping bags, it is most appropriate to first wash your hands with soap and water,” an MoH official told Muscat Daily.

To avoid the spread of infection through footwear, it is also preferred to keep them outside the house. “Foot wear can be cleaned with a chlorine disinfectant or household bleach (adding 10ml to 15 ml of household bleach to 1 litre of water) which can then be sprayed on them or any surface that needs to be disinfected,” the official added.

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