Safe and successful shopping during COVID-19

Alaskans may be good at maintaining distance from each other, but if you’re a caregiver (and even if you’re not), eventually you’ll have to leave the house to get groceries, replenish medications, or gather other supplies. If you usually stock up on incontinence supplies, toilet paper, or other products for personal care via Amazon or some other bulk supplier, be aware that shipping to Alaska may be backlogged. It may be better to shop locally to be sure of supplies on hand.

Here are four tips for your personal safety, and the safety of others in our communities:

Reduce shopping trips and time spent in stores:

Learn how to shop for groceries online. Many stores are offering “drive-up service” to pick up groceries after a store employee shops for you. Fred Meyer ( ), Costco (via Instacart service: ), and Carrs (via Instacart service: ) all offer this service. You’ll need to set up an account, but it is easy, quick, and worth it to avoid going out in public.

Ask your pharmacy if they will deliver. Almost any pharmacy is waiving delivery fees, or offering curbside pick-up service. Do not expect same-day service, however, as many businesses are extra-busy due to the demand for deliveries. Plan ahead.

If you must shop in-person, go alone to reduce the incidence of family transmission. Bring your own disinfecting wipes, and clean the grocery cart before and after you shop. Do not bring reusable bags (Anchorage has suspended the .10 cent bag fee for the foreseeable future). Do not handle produce unless you intend to purchase it. Make a list; get in, and get out. And be sure to thoroughly wash your hands, the car steering wheel, and all produce as soon as you get home.

Take advantage of “Senior Only” shopping hours to reduce your contact with others, and to ensure a quiet, peaceful experience to gather what you need. Costco, Carrs, Fred Meyer and WalMart all offer hours several times per week, usually early mornings from 8 to 9 a.m., but call ahead to be sure.