The majority of Canadians say they're trying to avoid grocery stores during the pandemic
As COVID-19 outbreaks continue to grow slowly but steadily across the country and officials reiterate directives to stay at home and practice proper social distancing, many Canadians — despite growing restless after all this time indoors — are becoming understandably wary about venturing out in public.
Though the government has said residents should still go out as much as needed to exercise, walk their pets and buy groceries and other necessities (though they have asked that the latter be limited to once per week), some people are steering clear of leaving the house at all.
A new survey about how Canadians are coping with the pandemic, conducted by Dalhousie University and domestic research institute Angus Reid, shows that most citizens are actually afraid to go to the grocery store these days.
Surveyed Canadians weekly on grocery shopping during #COVID19, interesting results (as of April 8):— The Food Professor (@FoodProfessor) April 10, 2020
20% of grocery shoppers are shopping for someone else (peak);
52% now trying to avoid the grocery store, if they can (peak). pic.twitter.com/4mztJXovuL
The findings indicate that 52 per cent of people in Canada are avoiding going to the supermarket, while 65 per cent are concerned about potential health risks from being there.
Also, 20 per cent of Canadians are so averse to the idea that they're sending someone else to shop for them. And only 41 per cent of respondents said they had secured food provisions because of the pandemic, suggesting that most citizens may not have gone out to stock up at all since this all started.
Is anyone else getting severe anxiety when going to the grocery store for necessities? We needed to resupply yesterday, after a couple of weeks, and I was afraid of being around people. It’s terrible!— Diana Hernandez Ph.D (@deray28) March 29, 2020
Though the current circumstances have certainly led to heightened fears over health and safety, increased caution and even paranoia for many, experts have said going as far as disinfecting your grocery items or leaving your shopping haul untouched for three days to reduce the risk of surfaces carrying the virus is unnecessary, if not completely ridiculous.
But being within two metres of other people is of course the biggest way to risk contracting the virus, and to a lesser degree, exposing yourself to a surface that an infected person may have recently touched.
As food expert Sylvain Charlebois told 680 News, people are now thinking more about the fact that others can "walk in and out, [and] touch anything and everything" in stores.
The Dalhousie and Angus Reid report also says things like lineups and crowded panic buying may be contributing factors.
If you had asked me how I imagined 2020 going, I never would’ve said that I’d end up being afraid to go grocery shopping.— Rachel (@Rachel_Gott) April 12, 2020
No feeling, fear or caution is unfounded right now, but hopefully those people avoiding shops are still able to get the food and supplies they need in a way that they feel safe doing.
And the less people there are in stores and other public places at the moment — regardless of the reason for it — the better.
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