Stay safe at grocery stores, gas stations, home

Safe practices for food shopping, take out food, and gas station use.

Many people 60 and over took advantage of the morning hours at Stop and Shop. – Lexi Pline

The Martha’s Vineyard Emergency Managers have consulted with the Medical Reserve Corps and local doctors for best practices to help keep residents safe. The emergency managers state in a press release that “the goal is to disinfect yourself and items before they enter your home. If that is not possible, you can carefully disinfect yourself and items in the home.”

As a general guideline, the release says, think of the virus like glitter, and disinfectant, or soap and water, will clean up all the glitter. The goal is to remove all the ‘glitter’ on your goods.


  • If you can, have a space outside your home or garage where you can bring your food to disinfect BEFORE it enters the home.
    • If you cannot, prepare a countertop or table for groceries by disinfecting the surface and separating the table into two halves — ‘dirty’ and ‘clean.’
  • Grocery stores are no longer allowing the use of reusable bags.
    • Please use the store’s paper or plastic bags.
  • Wear a mask and gloves to the store if you can.
  • If you are sick or exhibiting symptoms, have someone else bring groceries to you.
  • Plan on buying two weeks worth of food to minimize trips and exposure.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water when done preparing.

At the Gas Station:

  • Wash your hands or wipe down with hand sanitizer before you touch the fuel pump.
  • Wipe down the fuel pump handle.
  • Wear a mask and gloves if you can.
    • Be careful not to touch your face!
  • Once you’ve filled your vehicle, dispose of the gloves in the trash at the gas station.
  • If you do not have gloves, disinfect hands with hand sanitizer or wipes.

At the Store:

  • Maintain social distancing practices. 
    • Stay 6 feet apart, avoid crowded aisles, and maintain your 6-foot spacing at the counters and from the next person in line.
  • Wipe the handle of your cart down with disinfecting wipes as best you can.
  • Commit to what you are buying. Try not to touch things you won’t take home with you.
  • Carefully handle fruits and vegetables and place directly in bags.
  • When finished checking out, sanitize your hands.
  • Wipe down your car door handles, steering wheel, and anything else you may have touched after shopping with disinfectant wipes or spray.

At Home:

  • If you can, leave dry goods out of the house for 3 days.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and hot water, then change your clothes if possible.
    • Ensure that you are clean and ready to sanitize your goods.
  • Wipe all surfaces down with a saturated disinfectant wipe (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Make sure to empty containers without contents touching the outside of the container. Pull wrappers back on themselves and empty carefully.
  • For plastic containers, clean them by wiping them down carefully with disinfectant or soap and hot water.
  • Coronavirus can live for up to 2 years if frozen, so wipe down all frozen food containers with disinfectant and remove their original cardboard packaging if possible (frozen pizza, etc.).
  • Wipe down cardboard boxes and remove contents (cereal, pancake mix, etc.) stored in plastic inside. Keep the cardboard outside.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be carefully handled. Wash the bag that they are stored in. Carefully remove them from their plastic bags and place into the refrigerator.
    • The goal is to not touch the vegetables.
  • For fruits with skins (oranges, apples, avocados, etc.) wash in hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds, just like you would your hands.
    • It won’t affect taste if rinsed properly.
  • For bread, bagels, etc., carefully clean their packaging and empty them into clean containers.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with hot water and soap when done.

For Take-Out:

  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds after bringing the food home.
  • Disinfect the container and bags containing the food.
  • Heat kills the virus. You can microwave your food to ensure it is clean.
  • Open the food container and place the food on clean plates. Ensure no food comes into contact with the original wrapper or outside the container.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with hot water and soap when done.

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  1. Just one suggestion- the CDC recommends warm water not hot water to wash hands and other things. Please re-research and correct the tips, otherwise good article.

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