Well, here we go again.
If you’ve just joined us in 2020, it’s really been one for the books. One star. Would not recommend. Proceed directly to 2021 and cross your fingers that things will improve dramatically.
Having deliberated at length, the Irish Government has decided that we are going back to Level 5 restrictions from tomorrow night. Thankfully, some amendments have been made that will allow schools and a selection of businesses to stay open.
While this is a disappointing turn of events and for some, it is really restricting their ability to go about their normal daily routine, I try to remind myself that we are doing this to minimise the effect that this nasty virus will have on our local communities and our society as a whole. At the moment, the rates of infection are increasing at a staggering rate.
Ultimately, we are trying to shorten the amount of time that we’ll be living with this illness and the nuisance it is causing in our lives.
As lay-people, the little choices we make can have a significant impact on others, so let’s make them wise and lets not become part of a statistic of selfish and inappropriate behaviour.
Tips for a Successful Shopping Trip
Wear a Mask & Sanitise At this point, it really should be second nature to all of us, but it is worth the reminder all the same. By wearing a mask, you are protecting yourself and others.
Make a Shopping List By making a shopping list before you go, you will be more mission-focused. You’ll know which shops you need to visit and will able to get in and out of them as quickly as possible.
Plan your Trip Knowing which shops to visit and in what order you will visit them is also useful. You can more effectively plan your trip and it will speed up the process. Remember to consider what you are buying too: for example, frozen goods will need to get home quickly.
Shop Local Consider local businesses. If you can support them, now would be a great time to do so, to help protect livelihoods and keep our communities flourishing. Even if shops are physically closed, check if the business has an online presence and will deliver. They will really appreciate it and you will be rewarded with a product that is superior.
Check the Opening and Closing Times These are usually standard enough, but in our current corona-ridden world, hours of business may be changed. Also in some shops they give priority to carers and the elderly at certain times and able-bodied folk are asked to avoid shopping at those times.
Be Prepared to Wait At different times of the day and year it is usual for shops to be busier than normal. Now though, you may need to queue before even getting into the shop. If it is busier, social distancing rules dictate that your trip will probably take longer too.
Time of Day Matters I love shopping in the evening when there are very few people around. Kids are at home, the nine to five office crew have been and gone and the aisles are mostly empty. I can move around freely and without distraction. Take care though: you may find that stock is low, special offer items may be gone and areas like fish-counters will most likely be closed. Also, baked items will have been sitting out since earlier, if there is anything left.
Internal Pharmacies or other Shop-In-Shop If you are lucky enough to have a pharmacy in your local supermarket – we have one in our local Tesco – their opening hours may differ from the overall store.
Medicines I try to make sure I can combat seasonal allergies, colds and flus from my home medicine cupboard without an urgent, on-the-day trip to the pharmacy. First aid supplies are also kept ready for use. If you are picking up more than one of these items, you’ll probably need to visit a pharmacy as only one item is permitted per transaction over the counter in larger grocery stores.
Alcohol Here in Ireland, alcohol can only be purchased between certain hours. If you are putting that bottle of wine in your trolley, make sure you’ll be able to pay for it!
Delivery and ‘Click & Collect' These are awesome options in my opinion, but there is a caveat. Delivery slots are much sought after and in the midst of these restrictive measures, we are asked to be mindful of those who are cocooning or physically unable to make it to the supermarket. Those delivery slots are like gold dust so if you are able to, leave them for those who have no other option. ‘Click & Collect’ is a great alternative.
Consider Buying Ingredients Having a well stocked-pantry with shelf stable ingredients is another great tip: dried, canned and frozen items can be combined to make a truly delicious and nutritious meal. They also allow you to tailor your menu to your mood and how busy you are.
What Do You Actually Need It can be hard not to get carried away with all of the talk about the pandemic and sometimes we can get swept up in the crowd. Shops will be staying open to provide us with the items we require, so no need to stockpile toilet roll, flour or pasta. As it currently stands, the world is not ending, we have just been asked to restrict our movements.
I hope these tips will help you out when you are doing your next shopping expedition. It’s likely you have some tips to add: if you do, I’d love to hear them!
(Image: Bruno Kelzer @ Unsplash)