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Customers Should Take Safety Precautions When Shopping

Tuesday, May 5, 2020
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Customers should continue to take safety precautions when shopping in local stores and picking up takeout.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer tips to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 while shopping and running errands.

Town of Hillsborough and Orange County staff have been assisting local establishments in making changes to help improve the safety of employees and customers. They ask that members of the public do their part to help ensure everyone’s safety.

The CDC recommends using a cloth face covering whenever you may be near people outside your household because it may prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others.

“We strongly encourage everyone to follow CDC guidelines and wear a mask or cloth face covering when they go out in public where social distancing is difficult to maintain, especially in grocery stores and other enclosed spaces,” said Orange County Health Director Quintana Stewart.

Shop safely

Online ordering for delivery or pickup is recommended to reduce trips to stores. Shoppers are asked to continue to limit grocery shopping to once a week or less.

Although the state has not ordered people to wear masks, it is safest for everyone when customers cover their mouths and noses with a mask or cloth covering while in stores. Keep in mind that people with certain health conditions are not advised to wear masks. Also, people with hearing impairments may need those who speak to them to remove masks briefly to be able to follow visual cues to understand what is being said.

Many stores have added arrows and signs to avoid customers passing others in the aisles. Follow signage for aisle direction and increased spacing between customers in the checkout line.

Pick up takeout safely

Wear a mask or cloth face covering when you get takeout. If you are waiting on a sidewalk, stand close to the building to leave 6 feet of sidewalk open for others to pass. If there isn’t enough space for others to pass, consider waiting in an alternative location until your order is ready or discuss other options with the business. 

If you are waiting in your car, do not block travel lanes. Ask the business for an alternative location where you can wait and receive your takeout order.

If an employee is bringing takeout to your car, have everyone in your car wear masks or cloth face coverings and ask the employee to place items in your vehicle’s trunk for a hands-free delivery.

Support safety with your dollars

The Orange County Health Department receives complaints daily from customers who feel unsafe while shopping in stores where they do not see safety precautions in place.

Customers are encouraged to let store management know where they see problems.

Customers also are advised to shop where they feel safe. By spending money where safety precautions are in practice, customers encourage businesses to increase their efforts.

“By this point, stores know the best practices for keeping their employees and customers safe. We are counting on our local stores to implement these practices,” Mayor Jenn Weaver said. “Community members can reinforce those best practices by shopping at places where they feel safe.”

More information

U.S. Food and Drug Administration tips include what to do with your groceries when you get home:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tips include advice for how to most safely run other types of errands:

Related documents


Document Shopping Tips  

Document Takeout Tips