The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently released a new emergency order to enact a three-week shutdown, implemented last Wednesday.
The shutdown came as a result of rapidly rising COVID case rates both statewide and nationally. Unfortunately, the shutdown coincides directly with peak holiday shopping season. Though the shutdown does not directly affect retail shops, it comes as a reminder that COVID has not gone away since March, and has only been getting worse.
There are several different ways to holiday shop safely during the pandemic, but the following are the best options.
First and foremost, if you can, shop online. Online shopping is already hugely popular, so this might not come as a big change. However, overall it is the safest option. Upon receiving an online order, remove the outer packaging immediately and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
Packages have a very low risk of transmitting the virus, but to be extra safe, try to avoid contact with your delivery person. Also, because so many people are turning to holiday shopping online this year, it is best to make purchases earlier to ensure they arrive on time.
If you must shop in person, first confirm that you have no signs of any COVID symptoms. If fine, follow the “Running Errands” guidelines published by the CDC. The CDC recommends that you, “Wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, use social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from others), use hand sanitizer after leaving stores and wash your hands when you get home.”
To avoid most people, try to start holiday shopping earlier this year. Avoid shopping in person on Black Friday, as the crowds are likely to be much more concentrated.
Also, try to shop at times when the stores are less crowded. Google provides popular times when the stores are most and least crowded. Other store off-hours include right after they open before they close or on weekdays during working hours.
Overall, do whatever you can to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Though this is the main time of year for shopping, it’s vital you prioritize your health and safety over material goods.