WITH PUBLIC SAFETY MEASURES in force, residents on the Orihuela Costa are enduring a 15 day period of self-isolation that extends nationwide throughout the country.
In such extraordinary circumstances, one of the freedoms that remain is the right to leave our homes for essential needs, such as to buy food.
But with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread both nationally and globally, simply going shopping has become one of the most hazardous everyday tasks we have to face.
The simple, often mundane requirement of maintaining a household can become a difficult experience to manage, but if we take a few precautionary measures the personal risk of CoVid-19 infection can be significantly reduced.
Less is more, in every sense
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, so adhere to the first basic rule: only decide to go shopping if it is vital to do so.
If you have a partner or a family, allocate the shopping chores to one person. The right to go shopping for essential supplies is a fundamental freedom, but not one to be enjoyed or shared, and the law requires that if you must leave your house you do so alone.
Your health and the well-being of everyone in your household is potentially at risk, so it makes sense to send as few people from the relative safety of your home unless you need to assist older members of your family that suffer from reduced mobility.
The panic-buying we saw last week is over and local supermarkets are now well stocked with everyday supplies, so only buy what you need and don´t try to stock up.
Shopping on the Orihuela Costa, plan ahead
The less time spent in a supermarket, the lower the probability of SARS-CoV-2 contagion. With this in mind, it´s very important to prepare a shopping list before you leave, so you know exactly what you need, and so you don´t spend any more time on the shop floor than is necessary.
Consider planning your meals for the forthcoming days, noting all the ingredients you´ll need to prepare them. Check all the cupboards in the home, not just the kitchen, and add any essential personal care or household products to your shopping list.
Now might be a good time to abandon brand loyalty. You might prefer the bread from Consum or the milk from Mercadona for instance (other supermarkets are available), but if you can get everything you need from just one place you should try to do so.
Comprehensive and efficient planning means you´ll need to expose yourself to risk less frequently, so be thorough.
Apply the rules of social distancing when you shop
Social distancing is the most effective measure to slow the advance of the coronavirus pandemic. Always keep at least one metre away from other people
In smaller stores, you might have to wait your turn to enter the shop but always maintain that safe distance. You´ll need to pay the same attention to personal space at the checkout before you leave.
Don´t use supermarket baskets or shopping trolleys as they pass constantly through numerous hands and they´re a potential source of contagion. Instead, take a disposable carrier bag with you that can be discarded after use. Reusable cloth shopping bags can be utilised as long as they are machine washed between shopping trips.
If you can, be prepared to avoid paying with cash. Many things remain unknown about coronavirus, but scientific evidence suggests it can survive on paper, metal, and other surfaces for up to 72-hours. Paying by card reduces SARS-CoV-2 contact risks.
Use disposable plastic or latex gloves and hand sanitiser if provided, always follow the directions of supermarket staff on the shop floor, and don´t hand cash to checkout operators. Instead, place any cash on the conveyor belt and pick it up when you´ve finished packing your bags.
Avoiding bringing coronavirus into your Spanish home
As soon as you get home immediately wash your hands, even before you start to unpack your shopping bag.
Place the bag on the kitchen floor and take out the purchased products and put them directly where they need to go. Once everything is where it should be, throw the bag away and disinfect the floor with water and bleach, in addition to any areas you might have touched, then wash your hands thoroughly again.
The European Food Safety Authority that provides independent scientific advice on existing and emerging risks associated with the food chain, has found no evidence that food is a transmission route for CoVid-19, but there is a possible contagion risk from improper handling, so rinsing fresh fruit and vegetables with water provides addition surety.
Photo credit: La Zenia