Some super markets have relaxed safety rules like one-way aisles and single entrance and exits in the months since the coronavirus pandemic began. The CDC recommends a number of other guidelines consumers can take to reduce the risk of transmission, including social distancing, only touching products you plan to buy, and shopping online when possible. Following these guidelines is more important than ever, especially since some grocery stores apparently aren't disinfecting shopping carts on a regular basis.
Phoenix-area managers of Fry's Food Stores told Downtown Devil that their locations had not disinfected grocery carts in a month. The employees said they were following corporate owner Kroger's lead. "It came down [from corporate] that we do not need to [sanitize] anymore," a manager named Tiffany said.
One customer claimed that there were no wipes available for sanitation purposes. Another manager, Steven Williams, said wipes were available. Williams added that carts still get sanitized, though not every week. (Some supermarkets were hit hard by COVID-19, but here are 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)
"One of the ways we've adapted our protocols is to provide sanitation wipes at the front of all of our stores. This was a result of customer's feedback that their preference is to clean their own carts, giving them peace of mind when they grab a cart," the company says in an email to Eat This, Not That!. "We even took the extra step to change out the sanitation cart wipes we were using to ensure they stayed moist longer providing our customer's a better quality product. Additionally, we continually follow-up with our store teams ensuring sanitation wipes are available."
Some customers across the country have taken cart safety matters into their own hands. One shopper in Tampa invented an "arch" that sanitizes shopping carts with an EPA-approved cleaning chemical. A woman in Flagstaff, Arizona, also created a plastic liner for grocery carts called Cart Safe. She's now selling them online for $19.99.
The safest way to get groceries is to order them online for delivery or pickup, according to the CDC. If you need to shop inside, hit the aisles of your local grocery store early or late. Avoid consuming any samples, don't touch your face, and use a contactless payment option, if available.
Also on this list? Sanitize your shopping cart with disinfecting wipes when possible, the CDC says. The FDA recommends bringing your own wipes, which will also ensure that you're in and out of the store quicker. There are other risky behaviors some supermarkets are engaging in right now. For more, here are 5 Red Flags Your Grocery Store Isn't Safe to Shop In.