When shopping, the safest thing you can do is stay 6 feet away from other people at all times, experts tell TIME. Be patient. If you see a crowded aisle, wait or come back later. While there’s a chance the virus could be transmitted on a surface, “you’re most likely to get this from another person,” says Dr. Lauren Sauer, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Try to shop somewhere that already enforces social distancing, such as making people stand 6 feet apart in line. Also try to go to the store at “off-peak hours” and be respectful of the hours set aside for high-risk individuals. Ordering groceries online can also be a good option, especially if you’re in a high-risk category, experts say.
But if you must go to the store, a spokesperson for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning your shopping cart or basket—specifically the handles and other surface areas—with disinfectant wipes. Sauer also recommends using a paper shopping list, rather than your phone, while you’re in the store, because “the less you can touch your personal items in public spaces, the better.”
Once you’ve touched an item in the store, assume your hands may have been contaminated, experts say. Touch as few things as possible and don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Bring hand sanitizer and use it often. You don’t need to wear gloves, because they don’t stop you from spreading the virus to your face. However, the CDC does recommend wearing a non-medical mask to reduce the risk of inadvertently spreading the virus to others.
When you go to pay, try to have as little contact with the cashier as possible. As soon as you can, make sure to wash your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
The CDC spokesperson says that “[currently] there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food or food packaging.” Still, if you want to reduce your risk of exposure even more, you can wipe down your groceries when you get home. Make sure to avoid getting hazardous chemicals on food; just wash your fruits and vegetables like you normally would. Once you unload your groceries, the CDC recommends washing your hands again and cleaning kitchen surfaces like countertops, cabinet handles and light switches.