Shopping, takeout, and support services (COVID-19)
There are many things you can do to limit the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) while shopping in stores or ordering food.
- If you have any symptom related to COVID-19 or have been told to self-isolate, you need to stay home and avoid public spaces. You cannot go into stores.
- If you are over 70 years of age or immunocompromised, you should also self-isolate.
- Follow all the steps of physical distancing. Stay home unless it is absolutely essential to go out.
Ask for help
If you need help, ask a friend, family member, neighbour, or delivery service to get your food or other essentials. Buy only what you need. There is no need to stockpile.
On this page
- Protect yourself while in stores
- Can food or packaging spread COVID-19?
- What to do when you get your food home
- Takeout and delivery services—reducing your risk
- Ideas about which foods to buy
- Where to go for help getting food
Protect yourself while in stores
Unless you have the option of using a delivery or pickup service, going inside a store may be the only way you can get the products you need.
- Do not go out, including to any stores if you have any symptoms related to COVID-19.
- Limit the number of trips you make to stores.
- If possible, shop alone—try to avoid bringing other family members along unless absolutely necessary.
- Bring your own disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer. Some stores have these available for customers and require that you use them before entering.
- Use a disinfectant wipe to clean the handle of your shopping cart or basket.
- Wash or sanitize your hands. Gloves don’t protect you from respiratory illnesses. Instead, wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people at all times, unless you live in the same household with the person. Follow the steps of physical distancing.
- Even though you have no symptoms, you can choose to wear a non-medical cloth mask to protect others around you. Learn more about wearing and making masks.
- Avoid using money. Use a touch-free payment method instead.
Watch the Retail Council of Canada’s #ShopSmart video for more tips to shop safely.
Can food or packaging spread COVID-19?
Current evidence suggests that the way COVID-19 is transmitted is through direct contact and respiratory droplets that have the potential of being propelled for up to two metres. There is no evidence to show that COVID-19 spreads through food. It is possible, but understood to be less common, that a person could become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. The risk of becoming infected from packaging is very low, because the virus does not survive very long on these surfaces.
What to do when you get your food home
- Wash your hands right away.
- Put your groceries away and wash your hands again.
- Although it is not necessary, it is okay if you choose to clean surfaces, such as cans and non-porous boxes, using soap and water. You could also use disinfectant wipes.
- After you put your groceries away, use soap and water to wash the counters and other surfaces that they touched. You could also choose to use a disinfectant wipe, but make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
- Follow everyday food safety practices: clean your hands and surfaces often, separate raw and ready-to-eat foods, cook hazardous food items to proper temperature (for example, meats), and refrigerate food promptly.
- Wash your fruits and vegetables well under cool running water. Do not use soap or any other chemical products on them.
Takeout and delivery services—reducing your risk
- Minimize your contact with employees by staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from, for example counters or drive-thru windows.
- When possible, ask drivers to leave your order outside of your door.
- Use a touch-free payment method. Avoid using money.
- Remove your food from the packaging and dispose of the packaging right away.
- Wash your hands after removing the packaging and before eating.
Ideas about which foods to buy
Buy affordable, nutritious foods that can last a long time in your fridge or pantry. You can plan meals around these foods, which might help you go to the grocery store less often. Here are some ideas about which foods to buy:
- canned tuna
- canned or dried kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, or black beans
- peanut butter or nut butters
- hard cheese
- soup broth
- frozen and canned vegetables and fruit, tomato sauce
- longer lasting fresh produce such as carrots, potatoes, onions, broccoli, squash, cauliflower, oranges, apples, pears, grapefruit, and melon
- pasta, rice, couscous, hot and cold cereal, crackers
- bread, English muffins, bagels that you can freeze
- flour and other baking products such as butter, oil, and sugar
Check out these easy recipes for meal ideas (Canadian Public Health Association). They use basic ingredients and taste great! Follow tips to store your food (Love Food Hate Waste Canada). Storing your food properly can help it last longer.
Where to go for help getting food
There are many community resources available if you need help getting food. Ask your local grocery store if curbside pick-up, telephone or online ordering, or delivery options are available.
Emergency help is also available. Call 211 or visit 211north.ca to find resources in your community that can help you get food.
For food bank information, visit www.sudburyfoodbank.ca. They also have information for people who are visiting for the first time.
This item was last modified on May 13, 2020