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How to Shop Safely at Publix and CVS

BLAKE FLEETWOOD
Contributing Writer
opinion@lbknews.com

If you are over 70, as most of us on Longboat Key are, the first answer is DON’T.

Shop as infrequently as possible, remembering that every visit to a store is a vulnerable incident. Make a list before you go, to limit your exposure time.  The least amount of human contact is safest.

If you have been shopping lately, you will know that 100% proper physical distancing is almost impossible at CVS or Publix at any time of day.

If you really need to eat, or need drugs, go once every two weeks and stock up. Bring your list with everything you will need. Don’t browse.

It’s unlikely you will be able to avoid all risk. A given: other shoppers will get within your security zone of six feet. Three feet will do, if the person is not sneezing or coughing at you. Watch for tape on the floors at checkout to help customers keep their distance. The main worry for shoppers is other people — not the food. Experts say that transmission through food or wrapping is unlikely.

The virus can exist on plastic for several days and cardboard for a day. Wash your hands after unpacking and throwing away the wrapping.

My family has taken to leaving nonperishable boxes and packages in a closed car in the sun, windows closed, for a day or two. Evidence suggests that the virus cannot survive very long in high heat, especially over 132 degrees. Other families are leaving their groceries in the garage for two days to make sure the virus dies.

Masks are a good idea despite what you have been hearing from authorities for the past month. Experts say that most Corona infections come from droplets in the air. The CDC has a changing and confusing position on masks. But they certainly won’t hurt.  In Japan they wear masks all the time and they have handled the virus much better than in the U.S.

But don’t let masks or gloves give you a false sense of security.

Even in normal times, shopping cart handles have more bacteria than most public restrooms. Wipe down the cart handles and the child seat before using. Bring your own sanitizer for carts and wash your hands when you get home.

Shop at odd times. Early in the morning is best after the stores have disinfected. Publix stores and Pharmacy are open from 7:00 AM – 8:00 am on Tuesday & Wednesday for service exclusively to people over 65. The stores usually restock in the mornings. If you saunter in during afternoons or evening, items are likely to be sold out, but there will probably be fewer people.

As we speak my wife has become excited about the shopping online option. She is trying to get some asparagus for our dinner tonight, but alas, it doesn’t seem to be available for pickup in Longboat Key and delivery from Bradenton is five days away.

Guess I won’t have it for dinner.

My wife just returned from Publix and reported a resupply of paper products at noon.

She also noted many shoppers clumping together especially in front of the ice cream freezer.

Curbside pickup is only available at the Bea Ridge and Beneva  Public stores.

Publix has a video tutorial to help you learn to shop online for curbside pickup or delivery: Publix InstaCart – www.instacart.com/longboat-key-fl/publix

This may change, but when we called for delivery they said “Can’t do it. We are awfully backed up now.”

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