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Coronavirus: Be responsible. Be safe

Health information and advice to stop the spread of coronavirus

Shopping safely during the coronavirus pandemic

Last updated: 07 July 2020 at 9.00am

Coming into contact with an infected person is the main risk when you are out shopping.

When shopping you should:

  • wear a face covering
  • follow good hygiene practices
  • practice social distancing
  • minimise contact with people outside of your household

There is very little risk to you if you are just passing by someone briefly in a shop. But try to keep a distance of 2 metres as much as possible.

The COVID Tracker app can alert you if you have come into close contact with someone who later tested positive for the virus. Download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Read about how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus.

Face coverings

Wear a face covering when shopping. This is because it can be difficult to practice social distancing when in a shop.

But face coverings are not suitable for everyone. It is ok if some people choose not to wear them.

Face coverings are not suitable for children under the age of 13 or people with special needs who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing one.

Read more about cloth face coverings, medical masks and disposable gloves

When to stay at home

Do not go out shopping if you are feeling unwell.

If you are cocooning from coronavirus, consider doing your shopping online or ask someone to go for you.

If you need help, you can also contact your local County Council. They have community support in place to help deliver essential items.

Read more about how Local Authorities can help you during the coronavirus outbreak.

Reduce your risk when shopping

Try to limit shopping trips to once a week. This reduces your risk of getting coronavirus or spreading it to others.

No reported cases of coronavirus have been linked to contaminated food. Animals or animal products legally imported into the EU are not a health risk from coronavirus.

Follow these steps to reduce your risk of getting coronavirus or spreading it to others.

When shopping

  • Use the sanitiser provided for your hands and trolley or basket.
  • Remember to avoid touching your face.
  • Wear a face covering if you are over 13 years old - but you do not have to wear one if it makes you uncomfortable.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines - keep 2 metres distance between yourself and others in queues and while shopping.
  • Pay by card instead of cash and use contactless payment if possible.

After shopping

Respecting others

Only buy what you need - stores will be restocked daily.

Do not go shopping during dedicated shopping times that are in place for healthcare workers and people who are cocooning.

Delivery and collection services are very important for people who are cocooning and not able to leave their homes. Please only book delivery slots if you need to.

Shopping for a vulnerable person

If you have been shopping for someone who has been told not to meet other people by their doctor:

  • leave the shopping on their doorstep
  • ring the bell or phone them
  • stand back while they collect it

Related topics

Cloth face coverings, medical masks and disposable gloves

How coronavirus is spread

People at higher risk from coronavirus

page last reviewed: 03/04/2020
next review due: 03/04/2023