A Guide to Safely Shopping During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Many of us have spent the last several months adapting to curveballs COVID-19 has thrown our way. The pandemic has changed the way we do everyday things, from socializing to working to simply running errands. While we’ve adjusted to our new normal, it’s important to remember our community is still fighting hard to contain the spread of COVID-19. Take part in keeping yourself and your neighbors healthy by learning how to shop safely, especially if you live in apartments in Columbia, Mo.

Shopping in Columbia, Mo: How to Shop Safely for Groceries, Clothes & More

Learn how to shop safely and support your local Columbia, Mo businesses both today and in the future.

Even if you’ve let safe shopping habits slide occasionally over the last month or so, it’s not too late to start practicing safe shopping behaviors. Live in a downtown apartment in Columbia? You may want to be especially conscious about visiting stores that get a lot of traffic. It’s particularly important to think about others’ safety if you live in a two bedroom apartment, as you have your roommates’ health to be considerate of. By following some simple tips, you can reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 and keep those around you comfortable and safe as well.

How to Grocery Shop Safely

Getting groceries is essential and something we’ve all done dozens of times since the pandemic started, whether it be in person or online. The Food and Drug administration has released some practical information about handling food and grocery shopping safely during COVID-19, including: 

  • Write your shopping list in advance. Like we mentioned in our previous blog about transitioning back to college during COVID-19, taking inventory of what you need and planning ahead can save you unnecessary repeated trips to the grocery store. We also recommend writing your list on paper and not creating it in your phone. This way, you can avoid touching your phone and potentially contaminating it before you’ve had the chance to wash your hands.
  • Disinfect your cart and/or reusable bags. Many stores in Columbia are providing disinfectant wipes to clean the handles of your grocery cart or basket, but it doesn’t hurt to bring your own in case they’re out of stock. If the grocery store you visit allows reusable bags during this time, make sure to clean yours between visits.
  • There is no evidence of food packaging transmitting COVID-19. You’re more likely to bring COVID-19 home by not social distancing in the grocery store than you are on a package you purchase. However, if you’re feeling extra cautious, you can wipe down product packaging when you get home. Remember, the most important thing you can do at the store is to wear a mask and stay at least six feet from other shoppers. Be sure to follow the guidelines noted on the floor of your shopping center, as they were put there to help you keep your distance.


How to Shop Safely at Retail Stores in Columbia, Mo

Shopping is often stressful, especially with the holidays approaching. Add a pandemic in the mix and it can be even more anxiety inducing. If you feel comfortable returning to brick-and-mortar stores to shop for clothes, shoes or other “non-essential” items, there are ways to do so safely. 

Remember, you can still shop online and take advantage of pick-up services from stores nearby. Not sure if the stores near you are allowing customers? Follow Boone County’s official orders and restrictions to determine what is open around you. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Shopping Retail Safely in Columbia, Mo

Are fitting rooms safe to use?

Many stores have closed their fitting rooms for everyone’s safety. If a store you visit has open fitting rooms, it’s up to you to make the decision. There haven’t been enough studies to determine how long COVID-19 lives on fabric, but there’s risk associated with putting on clothes other people have also tried on recently. Learn if the store you’re shopping at is putting tried-on clothes back on the sales floor immediately, or if they’re sanitizing fitting rooms after each use. This can help inform your decision.

Do I need to sanitize new clothes?

It depends on how safe the store you shopped at has been. If you know your retailer has been practicing strict sanitization procedures and not opening fitting rooms, take peace of mind. If you’re still worried, let the clothes sit for three days and then wash them like you normally would. Note that a sneeze or cough from a sick person can propel viral droplets into the air, but most of them will drop to the ground. Aerosol scientists say that these droplets are small enough to move around clothing — not sticking to it. However, if a person is talking, coughing or sneezing in close proximity to clothing racks, large droplets can land on clothes. You never know whether someone who’s sick has spread large droplets on the rack of clothing you’re shopping from, so it’s better to take precautions.

Is it safe to buy clothes from thrift stores?

You may feel more inclined to support local thrift stores than larger retail chains, and you’re not alone. Many people enjoy the satisfaction of reducing waste and finding deals by shopping at second hand clothing stores. Keep in mind that just because clothes are secondhand, it doesn’t mean they’re any less safe than new clothes at a major retailer. Both are exposed to the public, and you should still take stores’ safety precautions into account. If you’d rather avoid in-person shopping and would still like to thrift, try online consignment stores like Poshmark and Thredup.

How to Support Local Business While Shopping in Columbia, Mo

If there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it’s the importance of supporting our communities and local businesses. A recent survey showed over half of consumers are more likely to shop at a local business than a national retailer right now, with 84% of those consumers saying it’s important to support their local community. Here are some ways to help out your local businesses in Columbia, Mo while still shopping safely. 

  • Buy gift cards. Whether it’s from your favorite local restaurant, coffee shop, bowling alley or salon, buying gift cards help businesses generate revenue. You can give gift cards to a friend or save them for later. 
  • Use virtual services. Your favorite local gym or yoga studio may be offering online classes. Support them like you normally would by signing up and giving their services a try virtually. It’ll help you stay connected to your local community and help them stay in business. 
  • Shop at farmers markets. Local farmers need help, too! Farmers markets are a great idea for grocery shopping in an outdoor environment. Wear a mask, socially distance and have vendors bag your items for you. 
  • Tip, tip, tip. Service workers rely on tips, and tipping a little more than you usually do can help compensate for lost hours or limited restaurant and bar capacities they’re struggling with. 
  • Leave a review. Online reviews are great for local businesses! This is a free way to help give your favorite restaurant, store or service provider a boost online and encourage others to patronize them. 


Stay Safe While Living in Apartments in Columbia, Mo

We’ve all been dealing with the pandemic for several months now, and it’s important to refresh on little ways we can continue supporting our community. Check out our previous guide to living in apartments in Columbia, Mo during COVID-19 to learn more. Whether you live in a 1 bedroom or 2 bedroom apartment, keep yourself and your neighbors safe. The staff at Lofts apartments in Columbia, Mo are here to support you!

Looking for a supportive apartment community? Contact Lofts apartments in Columbia, Mo.





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