COVID-19 panic shopping exposed thousands of people to unnecessary risk of infection. Panic shopping is a phenomenon wherein individuals make multiple trips to the grocery store and/or purchase significantly more than the recommended two or three weeks’ worth of food. Grocers all across the country witnesses thousands of people needlessly expose themselves and others to possible infection by taking repeat trips to the grocery store.
Experts Recommend Minimizing Large Crowds
Public health orders from federal, state, and local governments prohibit large gatherings of individuals. However, grocery stores cannot avoid these limitations. Grocery stores are one of the last places left where large groups of people congregate. Therefore, the experts advise people to avoid going into these large crowds as much as possible to minimize the risk of infection.
However, not everyone heeded the experts warnings. Grocery store clerks from multiple stores across the country reported seeing unprecedented amounts of shopping by numerous people. One clerk reported seeing people come numerous times in a day, purchasing substantial quantities of food and other supplies. Further, there were other issues because not everyone can afford to purchase the recommended amount of supplies in a single shopping trip, and so must go every week.
COVID-19 Panic Shopping Exposes Workers
While panic shoppers have a choice of whether to go to the store, grocery store clerks do not. In the beginning weeks of the pandemic, these workers were required to work extra shifts because of the sudden influx of shoppers, and because the grocery stores hadn’t yet been able to hire more assistance. Grocery clerks didn’t have access to gloves, there weren’t enough disinfectant wipes, and usually lacked adequate paid sick leave and so needed to keep working. Panic shopping exposes these vulnerable workers in particular to infection.
Further Expert Recommendations When In Grocery Stores
Epidemiologists recommend people minimize their exposure to large crowds. For example, shoppers should go at odd hours to avoid large crowds, such as early in the morning or late at night. Shoppers should also wear masks, and when they have to touch things used by others (such as refrigerator handles) use disinfectant wipes or wear gloves. Shoppers should also minimize touching their phones while they out unless they are able to wipe their hands down with soap and water, or at a minimum, hand sanitizer.