The coronavirus pandemic is far from being over. With most restaurants, coffee shops and businesses closed, one business has managed to stay on top and even flourish: Walmart! People have been raiding the giant retailer in the past few months and continue to do so to stock up on food and other essentials, involuntarily making certain shopping mistakes and exposing themselves to serious health risks.
To make sure you play it safe whenever you visit Walmart, avoid these 7 shopping mistakes you’re probably making amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Using the restroom
If you want to be on the safe side while shopping at Walmart, avoid using their restrooms. That’s because there are many types of surfaces in a restroom on which the virus could survive, from plastic to metallic ones.
“Touching the door handles, counters, etc. after washing your hands” exposes you to an unwanted risk of contracting coronavirus, says Leann Poston MD, a medical content expert at Invigor Medical. “It is also still unknown whether viruses, or only viral particles, are excreted in the stool,” which indicates “the need for appropriate precautions to avoid potential transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from feces”, she adds.
Trying on clothes
With the new coronavirus lingering on certain surfaces, it’s best not to test your luck and try on “clothes, shoes, or other items that have been previously worn or touched” at Walmart. You never know who’s touched the items before you so why expose yourself to unnecessary risks?
Using self-checkout stations
Social distancing is especially important right now. So, the logical thing to do after shopping at Walmart would be to use the self-checkout option instead of interacting with a cashier, right? Wrong!
Just as a cashier interacts with dozens of people throughout the day (possible infected ones), the touchscreen you use to submit purchase information or the pen you use to sign for credit card purchases can also be touched by dozens of people and packed with germs, bacteria, among which COVID-19, unless properly cleaned and sanitized.
Speaking of cleaning, here are 10 Items And Surfaces You Shouldn’t Clean Using Antibacterial Wipes.
Opening refrigerator cases
Shopping carts and grocery baskets aren’t the only risky things you can touch while shopping at Walmart. While authorities and Walmart representatives highly advise people to wear face masks in public areas, such as supermarkets, some are still not following this rule. This means infected but asymptomatic people might touch and contaminate surfaces such as the handles on refrigerator cases that don’t receive as much attention as other items in a supermarket.
Buying pre-opened merchandise
You might feel tempted to buy open-box items at really good prices. But are a few bucks more important than your health? “Items may be returned to stores [that] have been sitting in people’s homes for the last several weeks,” possibly becoming contaminated by sick individuals, warns Poston.
Touching shopping carts without cleaning them first
If your Walmart shopping trip starts with you grabbing your shopping cart or grocery basket, you’ve forgotten one important step: cleaning it before using it.
“COVID-19 and other viruses can live on surfaces for three to nine days, and potentially live in the air for up to three hours,” says Enchanta Jenkins, MD, MHA. “By going to these large-box stores and using frequently touched surfaces, such as shopping carts or hand baskets, that have not been disinfected, people are putting themselves at risk.”
Not practicing proper social distancing
The worst thing you could be doing at Walmart to put yourself at risk of becoming infected with the new coronavirus is sticking too close to other shoppers. “These locations are often crowded, thus making it more difficult to maintain a six-foot distance from others most of the time,” says Jenkins.
It’s true that Walmart employees have taken the recommended measures to maintain social distancing but if people don’t follow the same rules and disregard the social distancing recommendations, there’s only so much that the retailer can do. To make sure you comply with the rules, here are 5 Things You Should Know About Supermarkets During COVID-19 Pandemic.