With the holidays creeping up, you likely have already begun to scroll through online offerings to choose gifts for your loved ones. You may find most of the gifts you need online, but some things require in-person shopping. The more elaborate or customized the gift, the truer that may be. So, how do you stay safe while hunting for the perfect gifts?
1. Wear an Effective Mask
Not all masks are created equal. Choose one that filters small particles without hindering your breathing, such as our HALOmask. Ensure your mask fits comfortably but snugly and always covers your nose and mouth.
A good way to decide if a mask is effective is to conduct the candle test. This is not the most accurate test for judging good masks, buta Stanford scientist confirmed to NPR that it helps you spot the bad ones. (Try it with your HALOmask!)
2. Choose the Right Time
The fewer people you encounter while gift shopping, the lower your risks of infection. To find out the times when a store is less crowded, call ahead. You can also pull up the store’s Google My Business listing. If a location gets enough foot traffic, Google shares a graph showing its busy days and times.
If you are a senior or have co-morbidities, you can take advantage of special store hours. Not all stores have hours for vulnerable shoppers, but many do.
3. Go Out of Town
If you live in an area where people do not wear masks and infection rates are high, consider doing your shopping elsewhere. Going out of town just to do some gift shopping may not be feasible for everyone, but if you have the option, think about it.
Note that this does not necessarily mean planning an elaborate trip. For instance, Arizona does not have a statewide mask mandate, but California, Nevada and New Mexico do. Concerned Arizonans can cross over into any of these states to shop when permitted.
4. Choose Mask Mandate Stores
When some states and municipalities refused to put mask mandates in place, many private organizations stepped up to fill the gap. Shoppers do not always follow requirements and companies do not always enforce rules, but stores with mask requirements are still good options for no-mask-mandate areas.
These are some of the stores now requiring customers to wear masks:
· Sam’s Club
· Old Navy
5. Start Early
As it draws closer to specific holidays or events, more people will be out looking for deals. Try to avoid the crowds by finishing up your shopping as early as possible. For instance, try to complete your Christmas shopping by the first week in December and your Valentine’s Day shopping by the end of January.
If you think you might forget, set reminders on your phone. Having a good plan of what stores you need to visit and the gifts you plan to look for can also help you get in and out quickly.
6. Maintain Distance
If you encounter people while shopping, even if they are wearing masks, remember to maintainat least six feet of distance. Most stores have markers on the floors throughout the building so you can remember to put space between you and others.
If you encounter someone who will not respect your personal space, it is often safer to move than to argue. Many of these people become combative and may move closer out of spite.
7. Avoid Trying on Items
If you plan to go clothes shopping for someone of a similar clothing size as yourself, you may feel tempted to try on clothes. You might even bring family members or friends who fit the description and ask them to do so.
While the risk is low, there is a possibility of infection. Stores are still trying to find ways to sanitize clothes without damaging them, but they have yet to have a proven solution. Many are now tryingliteral window shopping.
8. Wash Hands
When you go shopping, even if you don’t try things on, you may touch several items. Some people go the extra mile of wearing gloves. This is effective, but it is easy to forget and lose track of what you touched and when.
Remembering to wash your hands when you may prove more effective. Most stores have restrooms and are ramping up cleaning efforts.
9. Bring Hand Sanitizer
You may find yourself in situations where washing your hands is just not possible. In these instances, use hand sanitizer. It is better to use your own than what is provided at stores, because you can verify that yours has the right ingredients.
Ensure your hand sanitizer isat least 60% alcohol. Alcohol can dry out the skin, so you may also want to bring some hand lotion. Finally, ensure your hand sanitizer is not on the FDA’s recall list.
10. Eat at Home
After a long day of gift shopping, you may feel tempted to go out to your favorite restaurant. Reconsider this. CNN reports that, compared to adults who tested negative, people who become infected with the coronavirus wereabout twice as likely to have eaten out in the past two weeks.
This doesn’t mean you can’t support your favorite local restaurants. Get takeout and bring it home or order delivery after you get home.
There is no foolproof way to shop in person without potential exposure. However, by wearing a mask and taking as many precautions as possible, you significantly reduce the risks.
At HALOLIFE, we offer a wide range of superior masks, filters and other accessories to make your shopping excursions safer. Check outour online store.