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Shop – or keep yourself safe? How to get your essentials during the lockdown

Everyone’s in the same boat right now – we have to stay home and save lives. But we still have to eat (and other things) so for most of us, visiting the supermarket is a necessity. How can we manage it and still stay safe?

And if we’re in the vulnerable group – over 60 and/or with pre-existing health issues – it’s even more dangerous, so then what do we do?

Disinfect your goods

Supermarkets are doing their best to keep both customers and staff safe and distant, but it pays to take even more care when you get home. If you’ve done your own shopping, don’t just bring it in and put it away as you used to do. Bring in the fresh fruit and veg, and wash them in soapy water, drying each item thoroughly. Everything else, non-perishable things in packets, tins or bags, can stay outside for up to three days. Some things are sold wrapped in plastic, so have clean containers or bags ready to take those items, and throw away the plastic wrapping.

That’s because, as microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles told RNZ, “We know that the virus can survive on some surfaces for up to three days… on cardboard it’s about 24 hours.”

Siouxsie recommends that you do a bigger shop less often, which gives you time to leave non-perishables long enough for the virus to die. If there are things in packages or tins you need to use straight away, wash their outsides as you did the veg before you use them. Storing things in the freezer doesn’t help – COVID-19 can survive the cold.

Ask a neighbour to buy for you

You might have younger or healthier neighbours who would be happy to do your shopping when they take care of their own. You can repay them through internet banking so you don’t have to exchange cash (money is notoriously dirty anyway), and have them leave the groceries outside your door. Don’t forget to wash fresh fruit and veg, and leave the rest outside for a time.

Shop online or Click and Collect

Supermarkets are doing their best with the rising demand for online shopping, and it’s still worth signing up. Register with Countdown as someone over 70 or with a disability or health condition and you’ll have access to priority deliveries. Similarly, with Pak’nSave’s and New World’s Click and Collect service, you can let them know when you sign up if you’re over 60 or otherwise vulnerable to the virus.

Book a meal box delivery

Meal box deliveries are classed as essential services, and can operate throughout the lockdown. You’ll get a box of fresh ingredients delivered, with easy-to-follow recipe cards. If you live in one of the larger population centres, you may be able to access some meals this way. Fitfood delivers twice weekly, but not to rural areas. My Food Bag is temporarily overwhelmed but working hard to resume taking orders. Hello Fresh, an internationally owned company, is currently hiring to keep up with demand. If you’re interested, Google ‘meal box delivery nz’ and find more companies that offer this service.

Stay home, eat well and stay safe

The experts can’t say it enough – stay home! This is even more important if you’re one of those deemed most vulnerable, so it’s time you accepted some help. Whether it’s a neighbour doing the shopping for you, a local supermarket delivering or a specialist company making up meal boxes, you need to consider every avenue to keeping yourself safe and well at home.