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COVID-19 (coronavirus): restrictions are in place nationwide. Get advice to stop the spread 

Shopping safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

Last updated: 21 October 2020 at 10.10pm

Coming into contact with someone infected with COVID-19 (coronavirus) is the main risk when you are out shopping.

When shopping you should:

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 COVID-19.

Face coverings

By law, you have to wear a face covering in shops and shopping centres. 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 recommended for children under the age of 13 or people with special needs who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing one. Read more about who should not wear a face covering.

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 at higher risk from coronavirus or cocooning, 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 COVID-19 outbreak.

Reduce your risk when shopping

Only go shopping if it is essential to do so. This reduces your risk of getting COVID-19 or spreading it to others.

No reported cases of COVID-19 have been linked to contaminated food. Animals or animal products legally imported into the EU are not a health risk from COVID-19.

Follow these steps to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 or spreading it to others.

When shopping

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 COVID-19 is spread

People at higher risk from COVID-19

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