We’re all stressed about grocery shopping for ourselves and our loved ones who work at supermarkets and other essential stores. Today, Governor Murphy signed an executive order requiring all store employees and shoppers to wear face masks or coverings to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

The executive order also limits the number of customers that can shop in stores to a maximum of 50 percent of a store’s capacity. The new order takes effect immediately and stands until further notice.

supermarket shopping during coronavirus©istockphoto.com / Alex Potemkin

Store employees are required to wear gloves if they’re interacting with customers, Murphy said. Businesses must give their staff masks, coverings and gloves at the store’s expense. It is unclear how supermarkets will quickly access gloves and masks. Anyone younger than 2 or who has a medical reason for not wearing a mask is exempt from the new rule.

The order also mandates stores to create physical barriers, where possible, to separate shoppers from cashiers and baggers. Stores must also provide special shopping hours for high-risk individuals. Murphy said the new rules are statewide and can’t be overruled by local municipal officials.

Once you’re at the supermarket, it’s important to be as efficient as possible. “Try to keep trips short and brief,” Dr. Amna Husain, a board-certified pediatrician with Pure Direct Pediatrics in Marlboro told New Jersey Family. “Make a list so you can be efficient and not be making multiple trips throughout the week so we can prioritize sheltering at home.”

What else can you do to maximize safety once you get to the supermarket? “If you are feeling well and you do need to go to the store, this is what I advise: Wiping down the handle of the cart, not touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) during the trip, hand sanitizer when you get in the car, and wash your hands when arriving home,” Dr. Husain said.

It should go without saying but if you’re feeling sick or have a hint of symptoms, stay home and ask a loved one who is healthy and able to drop off what is needed outside your door.

For tips on what to stock up on before heading to the supermarket, read our Quarantine Guide to Supermarket Shopping.

Once you get home, wash your hands thoroughly and when you bring your groceries in, wipe boxes and cans down with a disinfectant before placing them in a clean spot in your kitchen. A wet cloth with soap works too. Wash your fruits and vegetables well in cold water for 30 seconds. Finally, be sure to wipe down all kitchen countertops after you’ve put your groceries away.

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