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San Diego County says essential workers must wear face masks

Grocery store workers fall under the list. Find 10 tips to keep your market outings as safe as possible

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County is requiring employees who regularly interact with the public to wear face coverings in efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.

News 8's Angie Lee spoke with Dave Heylen with the California Grocers Association on when the best times to go out are, and some safety advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're in a different situation," Heylen said. "Now we need to try and limit the number of individuals in the store."

Grocery store employees are working diligently not only to keep store shelves stocked but also to increase the frequency of cleaning to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

With stay-in-place orders extended at least another 30 days, it's important to be aware of our habits.

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"Shopping has always been for many a family affair. It's a time we get together to socialize. But that is not something we can do right now. There are actually some counties that are beginning to mandate that only one individual from a family or a couple or whatever the scenario is the shopper," said Heylen.

The California Grocers Association is also continuing to take steps to reassure consumers that grocery stores will remain open and that food and essential supplies remain plentiful through our “Buy Smart. Don’t Overfill Your Cart.” There is #Enough4All (https://enoughforallca.com) campaign.

Here are tips to help ensure a safe shopping experience for everyone:

1: Only visit the grocery store when it’s essential - Buy only what you need for one week, or a little more. Be creative with what you have on hand before going to the store and don’t overbuy. There is enough for all if we keep shopping patterns normal.

2: Wash or disinfect your re-usable grocery bags after each use. For your safety, some grocers ask that you bag your own groceries if using reusable bags, while others have decided to temporarily block reusable bags from coming into the stores.

3: Help reduce store crowding. Don’t bring extra people on your visit to the store, if at all possible.

4: Practice social distancing within the store. The CDC guideline says 6 feet is a safe distance to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus. An average grocery cart is 3-feet long, so keep a distance of two grocery carts between you and others.

5: Inspect produce with your eyes, not your hands. To avoid unnecessary handling of fruits and vegetables use a produce bag to make your selection.

6: Avoid unnecessary handling of all items in the store. Try not to pick up cans or boxes or other products unless you plan to buy. Let your eyes guide your choice.

7: Don't crowd the check stand.

8: Keep your distance from the person in front of you. As a courtesy, some grocers have marked the floors in and around the checkout area to assist you in keeping a safe distance. Wait until the customer in front of you has finished collecting their groceries before unloading your groceries at the check stand.

9: Treat grocery employees with kindness. They are working hard to provide everyone with safe access to food and supplies. Be patient as they go about their work including additional cleaning protocols and consider acknowledging them with a big "thank you".

10: Be aware of your store's special hours or procedures. Many grocers are offering special shopping hours exclusively for seniors or other vulnerable populations. Check out your store's website or call in advance.

Allow for extra time "if lines are a little longer and you're favorite product isn't there have some patience," said Heylen.

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