This Is the Best Time to Go Grocery Shopping Right Now, Data Says

Grabbing groceries in this window can help lower your risk of catching COVID.

Grocery shopping in 2021 can be an anxiety-inducing activity. Sometimes it feels like everywhere you turn, there's a chance of catching COVID—especially with more infectious strains spreading. To put your mind at ease, there are a few things you can do to lower your chance of getting the virus, including wearing a mask, social distancing, and going to the store during a less crowded time. Keep reading to find out the best time to grocery shop, and for more safety tips, If Your Grocery Store Doesn't Have This, Don't Go Inside, CDC Says.

The best time to go grocery shopping is Monday at 8 a.m.

Woman shopping in grocery store

According to Google Maps data, Monday at 8 a.m. is the least busy time for grocery stores, making it the safest time to shop. While Google data specifies that the beginning of the week is the best, early morning shopping on any weekday is probably a safe bet because fewer people are looking to hit the stores first thing in the morning.

"If there is a time of day or evening when less people go grocery shopping, this is the safest time," said infection control practitioner Erica Susky. "Less people mean fewer potential exposures to COVID-19." And for more on your coronavirus risk, If You've Done This Recently, You're 70 Percent More Likely to Get COVID.

Saturday afternoon is the worst time to go grocery shopping.

Mature man in mask using mobile phone and choosing products in supermarket, potentially for Super Bowl party
FG Trade / iStock

It seems like people flock to the stores over the weekend to cross things off their to-do list. Google Maps data found that Saturday between 12 to 3 p.m. is the busiest time for grocery stores, making it the riskiest time to shop.

Physician assistant Ben Tanner said there are a few other times you may want to avoid. "Typically, it's pretty easy to keep your distance from other people at a grocery store. It's usually a large building, with a lot of space," Tanner said. "The main exception would be peak times, like the late afternoon, early evening, right after people get out of work." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Grocery stores will not only be the emptiest in the morning, but also the cleanest.

young white woman shopping wearing surgical mask
Shutterstock/Drazen Zigic

Even if the grocery store is cleaned intermittently throughout the day, there's no doubt it's at its most pristine when it first opens. "While grocery stores should be sanitizing throughout the day, they may very well be only doing so first thing in the morning as they prepare for opening," said antimicrobial expert W. Curtis White, PhD, chief technology officer of ViaClean Technologies. "With this in mind, it may be safest to go earlier rather than later." And for ways you could already be protected, If You Have This in Your Blood, You May Be Safe From Severe COVID.

Even if you go during a safer time, you still have to take other precautions.

Middle age man buying food in grocery store, wearing medical mask
Anna Nahabed / Shutterstock

If you find yourself shopping in a fairly empty store early in the morning, it's still important to take other safety precautions. "It remains critically important that we continue to wear masks, social distance, be cognizant of touching common surfaces, washing one's hands, and not going out if you feel sick," infectious disease specialist Javeed Siddiqui MD, MPH, chief medical officer at TeleMed2U, previously told Best Life.

As Tanner notes, if you and the other people in the store are adhering to all the public health measures, your risk of catching COVID is very low. And for a coronavirus sign to look out for, If You're Over 65, You Could Be Missing This COVID Symptom, Study Says.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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