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‘Try and plan it out:’ CDC offers tips to be safe from COVID-19 when you shop for groceries

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MILWAUKEE -- The CDC recommends going grocery shopping no more than twice a week amid the coronavirus pandemic -- and not at peak times. Stores are already implementing their own safety policies. But there are things you can do once you get home.

Margaret Mittelstadt

"When people come into the store, we're asking them to maintain social distancing -- six feet at the registers and in the aisles -- and we're instructing our staff to do the same as well," said Margaret Mittelstadt, Outpost Director of Community Relations.

At Outpost Foods in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood, plexiglass screens are now between the customer and checkout staff. Wipes are available to wipe down grocery carts. Decals on the floor point out the distance you should stay from another person.

"So if you see these marks on the floor, just know that that's kinda where you're going to stop until that next cart goes through and then we'll move forward in a sort of orderly manner," Mittelstadt said.

Although Outpost is one of the essential businesses still open, health experts want shoppers to limit their time in the store.

"Make a list so that you're not here buying the two and three items, two and three times a week. Try and plan it out a little bit," Mittelstadt said.

Once you get home, the CDC offers the following advice on how to stay safe.

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. After unpacking groceries, wipe down your kitchen surfaces.
  3. Throw out bags or cardboard give to you to take the groceries home.
  4. Consider changing or washing your clothing -- and washing your hands again after that.

Deliveries and mail

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine says the risk of COVID-19 spread from deliveries or packages is low. Research shows the virus lives on cardboard for up to 24 hours. Still, officials advise people to wash their hands before and after opening those packages.

Resources to keep you informed about COVID-19

CLICK HERE to view the Milwaukee County COVID-19 dashboard.

CLICK HERE to view the latest COVID-19 totals (updated daily at 2 p.m.) from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

  • If you have questions or immediate needs related to COVID-19, you can:
    • Text COVID19 to 211-211
    • Visit
    • Call 211. Call volumes are high, please be patient and try to use the text or online options first. A Fox Television Stations initiative to provide you with the most up-to-date national and international news on COVID-19.

Helpful phone numbers

  • Milwaukee Health Department: 414-286-3521
  • If you've lost a job and need help with unemployment: 414-435-7069

About COVID-19 (from the CDC)

Symptoms: Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
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