The Worst Thing You Can Do When Thanksgiving Shopping, Experts Warn

Avoid this mistake when hitting the grocery store this holiday season.

While a vaccine seems to be on the way, COVID cases continue to spike around the country, driving an urgent plea from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reconsider Thanksgiving travel plans. Even if you're not planning to head out of town this week, there are still plenty of things that may put you at an increased risk for contracting the coronavirus this holiday season, including hitting the grocery story to stock up on all the essentials you need to prepare your Thanksgiving meal. While you don't need to forgo Thanksgiving shopping altogether, there are some thing you should avoid doing at the grocery store right now, according to experts. The most egregious error of all? Counting on any one safety practice, particularly your mask, to provide total protection. 

The key is having several lines of the defense, experts say. "Don't count on your mask to be a total blockade," Michael Osterholm, PhD, a member of President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus advisory group and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told The New York Times. Sure, masks help, but they're not 100 percent effective. According to Osterholm, "The time of exposure is really important." Read on to discover more Thanksgiving shopping mistakes you need to steer clear of, and for another Turkey Day tip, check out If You're Doing This, You Won't Be Totally Safe From COVID on Thanksgiving.

Read the original article on Best Life.

Shopping at peak times

Asian woman wearing mask and gloves in grocery store

You always want to avoid large crowds at the grocery store, and that's especially true this year. According to Google Trends data, grocery stores are the least crowded on Mondays around 8 a.m. And during Thanksgiving week, Wednesday is almost always the busiest shopping day. In addition, the data shows that bakeries are most crowded at noon, grocery stores fill up between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., and liquor stores peak around 6 p.m. And for one thing you should keep off your menu this year, This Is the Worst Thanksgiving Dessert, Survey Says.

Shopping for an extended period of time

Middle age man buying food in grocery store, wearing medical mask

One thing you definitely want to avoid doing is aimlessly perusing the aisles for hours on end. Instead, Linsey Marr, PhD, an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech, told The New York Times that a 30-minute trip is the target you want to aim for.

"A half-hour seems like about the right time, where hopefully you can get something done, but you're not putting yourself in a higher risk situation," Marr said.

Not washing your hands before and after your visit

Close up view man hand gathering clear water pouring from faucet into the human palm, concept of personal hygiene and morning routine, global climate warming and worldwide water crisis problem

According to Marr and other experts consulted by The New York Times, the tried-and-true practice of washing your hands is essential for safe shopping. While you may think gloves are the way to go, they are not recommended or necessary if you properly and frequently wash your hands. And for more holiday COVID tips delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Getting too close to other shoppers

A young woman in a disposable face mask is checking a shopping list on a smartphone while there is another woman with shopping cart background
ANRproduction / Shutterstock

Sure, you want to get in and out of the grocery store quickly, but that doesn't mean you should be reaching over other customers to grab that last can of cranberry sauce. Getting too close to fellow shoppers, even if you are all masked up, is more than just rude—it increases your risk of exposure should the person you're close to sneeze or cough in your presence, for example. And for a little break from COVID news this holiday season, check out 30 Thanksgiving Facts to Share With Your Family.

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