This Is the Best Time to Go Shopping, According to the CDC

Here's what day of the week and time is safest for you to hit your favorite store, according to the experts.

Many states have started to lift lockdown orders, but the risk of coronavirus infection is still very real. So, as you visit reopened public places, like your favorite store, it's important to consider how to avoid catching COVID-19 or spreading it if you're asymptomatic. And that all comes down to timing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has highlighted many strategies for staying safe and reducing the spread of COVID-19. Among the guidelines, the CDC suggests that the safest time to go shopping is early in the morning or late at night. They say that most people shop midday, so these will be the "hours when fewer people" will be inside the store, thus reducing person-to-person contact. Specifically, the absolute best time to go to a store would be early Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday morning, experts say.

That's because businesses are typically more packed on the weekends when many people aren't at work. So, on Monday, due to the weekend traffic, there's a risk that employees "didn't clean or disinfect well enough on Sunday evening" because they were rushed, says Abe Navas, general manager of Emily's Maids, a cleaning service in Dallas, Texas. "Your golden days should be Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, in the morning. The staff should have had time to disinfect the store properly and you should be safe," Navas says.

Man with face mask and rubber glove for protection shopping for groceries

If those times don't work out well for you, Jagdish Khubchandani, MPH, PhD, a professor of health science and statistician at Ball State University, also recommends checking Google for a store's "popular times." The feature will give you hourly estimates on how busy a store usually is each day, including live data that shows how active a specific store location is at the moment.

However, even if you're shopping at times when less people are around, you still need to take precautions. The CDC recommends that customers disinfect shopping carts, stay at least six feet away from others while shopping and while in line, and avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Immediately after leaving the store, the CDC suggests that you use hand sanitizer and then once you're home, you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

"If you are at higher risk for severe illness, find out if the store has special hours for people at higher risk. If they do, try to shop during those hours," the CDC states. "People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions." And for more ways the retail experience is going to change, check out 7 Things You Won't See at Retail Stores Ever Again After Coronavirus.

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