Shopping In The Age Of COVID-19


Missed being able to get out and go shopping?

There’s good news. Across the country, many non-essential shops are beginning to open their doors following temporary closures during the UK’s lockdown.

Plenty of us will be looking forward to shopping purely in the name of retail therapy.

But just like visiting supermarkets in the past weeks and months, visiting non-essential shops will be a very different experience to what we have known previously.

Those reopening have indicated there will be measures in place to keep both staff and shoppers safe. Some book shops, for instance, plan to quarantine books for 72 hours after customers have touched them. 

Some shoe shops intend to quarantine shoes for 24 hours after customers have tried them on.

So what exactly can we expect when we go shopping and how can we stay safe?

PPE and hand sanitiser

It is recommended that we wear appropriate personal protective equipment when shopping.

Consider investing in a face mask which covers your mouth and nose if you don’t already have one. This will both prevent you spreading any germs through your moth and nose, and potentially protect you from catching germs from others through your mouth and nose.

It is also wise to wear gloves when shopping, to prevent you from coming into direct contact with germs living on surfaces while out and about.

If you forget to take gloves with you, look out for hand sanitiser at the entrances and exits of shops.


Keep a hand sanitiser handy. Shutterstock.

Keep your distance

It is still recommended that we leave two metres between ourselves and people from other households to prevent the spread of germs.

Many shops will have a queuing system in place to ensure there is a limited number of shoppers inside at one time. Most shops with queuing systems will have two metre spaces marked on the ground so you know where to stand.

Some shops will have one way systems in place inside the shop. Look out for signs and follow arrows.

Try not to turn back on yourself, as this makes it harder for people to stay spaced out.

Minimise touch

Be mindful of what you touch while out shopping.

Don’t pick up items unnecessarily if you can avoid it. By only touching things we plan to buy, we can prevent ourselves from spreading or picking up germs.

Cash is handled by many people, and is a breeding ground for germs.

Use a credit or debit card to pay for items if you can.

If your card allows you to make contactless payments, do this where possible. This means you can avoid touching the keypad on card machines and prevent the spread of germs.

Germs can survive on hard surfaces for up to three days. If you use a touch screen self-scan while shopping, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.

Be considerate

Take tissues with you when you go to the shops. If you need to cough or sneeze, be sure to do this into a tissue and dispose of it as quickly as possible.

Be patient if people take longer than usual to get around the shop.

Getting used to this new way of shopping will take some adjustment.

Happy shopping!

And don’t forget to pick up your copy of the “Friend” while you’re out!

For more “Friend” lifestyle content, click here.

Mairi Hughes