Concern over trips to the grocery store have many of us turning to online delivery options like Shipt, Amazon Fresh and Instacart. These services provide no-contact delivery, with many providers dropping groceries right to your door. Despite these options, growing demand, long waitlists and added delivery cost mean shipping and curbside pick-up aren’t always possible.

 If more frequent trips to the grocery store are a reality for your family, here are a few tactics to help minimize virus exposure and keep you safe when shopping.

 Minimize Trips When Possible

By planning ahead and making a list of needed food, medicine and household items to last multiple weeks at a time, you can avoid making unnecessary trips to the grocery and pharmacy. Having a list in hand will also help you get in and out quickly, rather than browsing the aisles looking for inspiration.

 Shop Alone

Yes, we are all desperate to get out of the house, but it’s important you don’t take the entire family along to run errands. To minimize patrons in the grocery store, it’s best to shop alone. Not only does it keep the store less crowded, but it will make your trip faster.

 Shop When It’s Less Busy

According to various studies based on foot traffic data, early morning is perceived as the least busy shopping time for grocery stores, with late evening being the next best option. In Indianapolis, stores like Aldi, Costco, Kroger and Meijer have special hours for seniors and at-risk patrons only.

 Aldi: Senior citizens, expectant mothers and those with underlying health concerns can shop from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

 Costco: People age 60 and older and customers with physical disabilities can shop from 8 to 9 a.m. 

 Kroger: The 7-8 a.m. time period Monday through Thursday is exclusive to customers age 60 and older.

 Meijer:  Seniors and at-risk patrons can shop stores and pharmacies from 7 to 8 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

 Walmart:  Select pickup store locations will reserve 7 to 8 a.m. daily for store pickup to customers 60 and older, first responders, people with disabilities and at-risk shoppers.

 Sanitize Your Cart or Basket

Many stores have disinfectant wipes available at the entrance, but bring your own just in case. It doesn’t hurt to wipe down cart and basket handles, and avoid touching your face until you can wash your hands again.

 Wear a Mask or Face Covering

The CDC recently changed their recommendations and are now suggesting you wear a face covering in public, but still leaving medical masks for healthcare professionals. If you don’t have access to a cloth mask, some suggest using a scarf to cover your face.

 Wash Non-Porous Containers and Produce

While the FDA says there’s no current evidence to support the transmission of the virus from food packaging, it can’t hurt to wash non-porous containers like glass or cans with disinfectant wipes, and run produce under water before putting them away. Once you’ve put food in its proper storage, wash your hands thoroughly and wipe down other surfaces you’ve touched, such as countertops.

To stay up-to-date on how to help protect yourself and others during the pandemic, check out the CDC recommendations.